It was a satisfying win, but it might not be enough to earn the Vernon Source For Sports Tigers top seed going into the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoffs.
The Tigers claimed a share of the league penthouse with the Kelowna Raiders after grounding them 12-11 in a Wednesday-night showdown at Kal Tire Place.
The teams hold identical 11-3-1 records, but the Raiders hold a 22-point lead in goal differential (tiebreaker).
All Vernon can do is try for a offensive outburst against the Armstrong Shamrocks in their final regular-season game Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. Either that, or pray the Raiders lose to the Rocks in their last tilt Thursday in Kelowna.
The third-place Shamrocks (3-7-3) host the last-place South Okanagan Flames (3-9-2) tonight at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Mason Limb played the hero Wednesday night, netting the winner with about 90 seconds to play, helping the Cats overcome a near collapse in the third period.
Leading 10-6 after 40 minutes, Vernon ran into a string of penalty trouble early in the third period, paving the way for a Kelowna comeback. The Raiders levelled the score 10-10 with four minutes remaining before Ryan Sarazin, with his fifth goal on the night, restored Vernon’s lead.
“First period was pretty close and the second period we started running away with it,” said Sarazin, a Fulton grad who is headed to the NCAA Division 1 Marquette Golden Eagles on a field scholarship this fall.
“Beginning of the third period, we just got too relaxed and they started coming back. We let up when we shouldn’t have.”
As was the case in Vernon’s win over Kelowna earlier this month, the Tigers effectively shut down Raiders’ sniper Brendan Urban, limiting him to a goal and two assists.
“They’ve got a lot of depth and quite a few players who can put the ball in the net,” said Sarazin. “But when we shut down Urban, that takes away at least a couple goals.”
Daryl Landels (2+3), Quinton Harrish (2), Colton Harrish and veteran Craig Bigsby rounded out Vernon’s offence in front of netminder Joel Fruncillo, who returned from injury. Scott Renner and Ryley McLennan led the Raiders with a deuce apiece.
Meanwhile, Jayden Jensen-Hunter sniped a pair of goals as the North Okanagan Legends brushed back the host Penticton Heat 5-3 in Bantam A2 playoff action Tuesday night at Memorial Arena.
Jakob Schweb, Brett Olsen (shorthanded) and Brady Marzocco rounded out the offence for North Okanagan, who held period leads of 2-1 and 4-3, and outshot the Heat 42-31.
Niklas Luttmerding was the setup man with three assists.
Legends’ head coach Rob Seaton said the team came ready to play, wearing down Penticton and punishing them period by period.
The Legends host the Heat Monday night (5:15) at the Kal Tire Place.
In Novice action, the Armstrong Co-Op/Gilberts Parts Depot Legends just missed out on some hardware as they fell 6-5 to the Kelowna Kodiaks #2 team in tournament play last weekend in Salmon Arm.
The Kodiaks scored with three seconds to play in the bronze-medal game.
Scoring singles for the Legends were Jakob Aeichele, Ephran Potter-Cramer, Chayton Marchand, Peyton Storey and Tye Krause. Nathan Tishenko was solid in net.
Krause and Storey each had a hat trick as the Legends opened the tourney by spanking Shuswap 12-1.
Aeichele and Potter-Cramer each added a pair, while call-up Brayden Schwaerzle and Thomas Pain netted singles.
The Legends battled the Kodiaks to a 6-6 draw Saturday morning, with Krause and Levi VanderDeen each scoring deuces. Pain and Kohl Killingback each had a single.
Krause and Storey supplied the offence as North Okanagan bowed 6-2 to Kelowna #1 later in the day.
The Legends then fell 9-4 to the Penticton Heat, with Storey (2), Vander Deen and Pain accounting for the offence.
Novice lacrosse wraps up this weekend with playoffs at Kal Tire Place.