KEVIN MITCHELLJul. 20, 2018 11:05 a.m.SPORTS
The Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers grounded the Kamloops Venom 12-9 Thursday night to claim their first Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff championship since 2014.
The loss snapped the Venom's three-year hold on the league trophy. Vernon swept the best-of-five series 3-0 and will now face the winner of the combined West Coast-Vancouver Island championship in a one-game, winner-take-all B.C. final Saturday, Aug. 11. The game will be played in the Lower Mainland.
"We celebrated last night for sure," said Vernon head coach Ryan Minchenko, a Tigers' grad. "The mood was great in the room. Three years without winning caused some anxiousness. They put the work in all season long right from the get-go; they deserve it."
Vernon pretty much ran the table in the four-team Junior B circuit, going 9-1-2, finishing one point ahead of Kamloops. The Tigers rang up multiple powerplay snipes as they ransacked the Venom 20-7 in the second game Tuesday night in Kamloops.
"Kamloops put up a good fight," said Minchenko. "The score in that second game didn't indicate how close the series was. Both teams make one another better. The players hate each other and the coaches don't really like one another so it's a good rivalry."
Vernon jumped out to 5-0 first period lead in front of 500 fans at Kal Tire Place. The Cats were up 7-2 after 20 minutes and extended the lead to 9-2 at the 6:25 mark of the second period.
Kamloops scored five of the next seven goals and trailed 11-7 heading into the third. The Venom got as close as 11-8 just 30 seconds into the third period, only to have the Tigers restore their four-goal budge 24 seconds later.
Kordell Primus registered his third goal at 10;37 on a powerplay to pull the Venom back to within three, but they could not beat Vernon goalie Kyle McIntosh the rest of the game. McIntosh finished with 40 saves.
Vernon native Troy Cuzzetto started in goal for Kamloops. He was pulled in favour of Ethan Milobar at 15:13 of the opening period after the sixth Vernon goal. Cuzzetto returned to the goal after the ninth Tigers marker at 6:25 of the second period, and finished the game in net for Kamloops. The pair combined for 47 saves.
Cuzzetto also picked up an assist on a Primus breakaway goal. Things got ugly with 2:41 left in the game after Primus received a five-minute match penalty for boarding a Tigers player at the benches. Venom coach Doug Clark blew a gasket on the call and received a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and a gross misconduct.
Venom attacker Colton Boomer received a 10-minute misconduct on the play and another Kamloops coach was dismissed from the game for voicing his displeasure.
The Venom lost captain Brady Georget midway through the first period when he received a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for pasting Tigers sniper Jordy Barr into the end boards. Barr was down for several minutes and missed a couple of shifts.
Barr and Jake Pelletier each had three goals for Vernon with Pelletier adding three helpers, while singles went to Quinn Stanhope, Brett Olsen, Kaden Doughty, Conor Webb, Eric Reid and Chase Wirth. Webb and Thomas Landels each pocketed three assists, while Caden Colmorgen and Kyle Cuzzetto each compiled two.
Anthony Matusiak had two goals for Kamloops, while Jordan Bunce bagged 1+2. Each team scored two powerplay goals. Vernon, who showed excellent composure all series, was assessed seven minor penalties.
Minchenko said the Tigers will take a week off before preparing for the provincial final. The defending provincial champion Coquitlam Adanacs leave for the national Founders' Cup the day after the B.C. playoff so are not expected to be the West Coast opponent.
"The boys and banged up, black and blue so we'll let them rest up," said Minchenko. "We're taking the B.C. final seriously. If we're going down there, we're going to try and win."
Minchenko gave props to assistant coaches Casey Sherriff and Braden Barr, along with physiotherapist Derek Geldrich and his staff of Leslie Landels, Ryan Sarazin and Quintin Harrish.
"Duane (GM Barr) and Harold Mann did a huge amount of work in to make this a great organization. Hopefully, this is just one of many more championships to come."
By: MORNING STAR STAFFAug. 9, 2018 9:42 a.m.LOCAL SPORTS
The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League champion Vernon Tigers have declined to play a one-game, winner-take-all B.C. Junior B Tier 1 provincial final, citing finances and other reasons.
The Tigers, who completed a three-game sweep of the Kamloops Venom for the TOJLL playoff crown July 19, were of the belief they were to have played the B.C. League winner on Saturday in Coquitlam, regardless of who won the playoffs featuring teams from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
The Victoria Shamrocks and Coquitlam Adanacs were the top two teams in the season, and the favourites to advance to the league final. Victoria beat Coquitlam two games to one to win the playoff championship.
“I started looking around and seeing what was available for hotels and busing with the belief the game was going to be played in Coquitlam,” said Tigers general manager Duane Barr. “My understanding was the game was going to be Coquitlam no matter who won. I was then told by the commissioner of the league down there that we would play the winner of the league, so if it was Coquitlam, it would be in Coquitlam. If it was Victoria, it would be in Victoria.
“I said, ‘there’s no way I can go to Victoria on short notice (Victoria wrapped up playoffs Monday).”
If Coquitlam had won, said Barr, the provincial final would be scheduled to be played one day before the Adanacs head east to Akwesasne, Ont. for the Founders Cup Canadian Junior B championship.
“I’m way more financially responsible to my team than to go (to provincial final) for one game,” said Barr. “We were looking at $5,000 to go to Coquitlam. It would have been more with the ferries to go to Victoria.
“I would have loved to have gone down there to see how we stacked up against those guys. We had a pretty good team this year (only one loss in regular season and playoffs) and I think we’ll have a good team next year.”
The TOJLL decided at last year’s annual general meeting to go up to Tier 1 (Vernon hosted four-team Tier 2 provincial championship tournament in 2017) with an understanding there would be no provincial championship in 2018.
Barr said midway through the season, TOJLL governors wanted to see how the league would fare and proposed a one-game, winner-take-all provincial final.
The 2018 BC Lacrosse Association AGM will be held in Whistler.
“Our league needs to put forward a proposal with the senior directorate to get a true Tier 1 provincial championship, whether it’s a three-game series or similar to the Tier 2 provincials like last weekend in Westshore (Victoria),” said Barr. “That way you can plan for it better and be ready.”
The Tigers lose three players — Jarod Reid, Thomas Landels and Kyle Cuzzetto — to graduation, meaning the trio misses out on a provincial championship bid in their final year.
2019 TOJLL SEASON
Alphabetically Listed: Sortable "Table", "click" column, "click" to reverse.
W & OW = 2 pts / T & OL = 1 pt / L = 0 pts
Tie-Breaker Criteria (if Teams tied in Points): #1 Winner Head to Head #2 Best GAF = GF ÷ (GF + GA) #3 Most GF #4 Least GA #5 Least PIM