The South Okanagan Flames will look to continue their regular season success against the Vernon Tigers in the playoffs.
The two teams open a best-of-three Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League semifinal series Saturday at 7:30 p.m. the Oliver Arena. Game 2 is Monday at Kal Tire Place in Vernon and Game 3 Wednesday (if necessary) in Oliver.
South Okanagan won five and tied one in seven regular-season meetings against the defending-champion Tigers.
The Flames won the most recent meeting 12-7 June 17 in Penticton. The Tigers got their only win against the Flames a week earlier at the same venue by a 9-6 margin.
The Flames enjoyed their biggest offensive output of the season in a 20-13 win over the Tigers in Vernon on June 1. The teams fought to a 17-17 tie May 18, also in Vernon.
With the Armstrong Shamrocks taking a sabbatical this season, there were only three teams in the league. The Shamrocks and/or the Kelowna Raiders – also in the midst of a sabbatical – could be back in 2020.
Kamloops Venom finished first at 11-3 and earned a bye into the final, with the Flames second at 6-7-1 and Vernon last at 3-10-1.
The Flames will have to keep close tabs on Vernon star forward Kaden Doughty who led the league in every offensive category, collecting 37 goals and 81 points, while registering 6.2 points per games.
Logan Cote led the Flames in assists with 28 and points with 47, while Carson Shortreed led in goals with 22. Alex Nimmo was third in the league at 4.8 points per game.
The Flames had the two most penalized players in the league with Cairo Rogers racking up 126 minutes and Aidan Danby 120. Flames head coach Kevin Thompson will be hoping the Flames find the fine line between aggression and discipline to keep Doughty and his mates off the power play.
The Flames play their regular season home games at Memorial Arena, but the ice has been reinstalled at the Penticton rink for summer hockey activities.
Admission for the games in Oliver is $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors and kids under the age of 18. There is a 50-50 draw, a bean bag toss contest for a $50 gift card to Earl’s, and a raffle at $5 a ticket for a gift basket valued at more than $2,000.
The winner of the Flames-Tigers series advances to play Kamloops in a best-of-five final starting July 12 in Kamloops. Games 2 and 3 will be played July 14 and 16.