It was yet another reminder that the regular season and playoffs are two different seasons.
Chase Wirth scored three third-period goals and added two assists as the Vernon Tigers beat the South Okanagan Flames 10-6 in Game 1 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League semifinal playoff series Saturday at the Oliver Arena.
Stephane Richard also had five points (two goals) to put the Tigers in position to wrap the best-of-three series up tonight (Monday) at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.
If the Flames win, a third and deciding game goes Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Oliver Arena.
The Flames won five and tied one in seven regular-season meetings with the Tigers.
Vernon, however, is the defending playoff champion and now has 10 straight playoff wins over the Flames, including three straight (best-of-five) semifinal series sweeps.
Brett Olsen scored twice and Conor Webb, Kael Black and Thomas Mackiewich had solos for the Tigers, who led 3-1 and 7-4 at the period breaks.
Alex Nimmo fired four goals to pace the Flames with Logan Cote and Ben Olsen adding one apiece.
Quintin Fisk made 45 saves for Vernon and Connor Ramage had 35 stops for the Flames.
The Flames were again forced to play their home playoff games in Oliver after the ice was reinstalled for summer hockey at their regular home, Penticton’s Memorial Arena.
The winner of the semifinal series takes on regular season champs Kamloops Venom in a best-of-five final starting Friday in Kamloops.