For the first time in their 20-year history, the South Okanagan Flames are going to the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League finals.
Cairo Rogers scored four goals and Logan Cote added three as the Flames dispatched the defending-champion Vernon Tigers with a 10-8 victory in front of a raucous crowd at the Oliver Arena Wednesday night.
The Flames rallied after losing Game 1 in Oliver to win the best-of-3 semifinal series 2-1.
South Okanagan won’t have long to celebrate as Game 1 of the best-of-5 championship series goes Friday night in Kamloops against the Venom, who finished first in league play and got a bye into the final.
Liam McLaren scored twice and Alex Nimmo – who had a terrific series – added a goal and four assists for the Flames, who opened up an 8-5 lead after two periods after the teams each scored four goals in the first.
Zander Torres collected three assists and Chace Moog, Carson Shortreed and Ethan Konno had two apiece.
Brett Olsen with four, Kaden Doughty, Kael Black, Jake Pelletier and Ryan Sagorsky replied for the Tigers.
Connor Ramage made 42 saves for the Flames – including 17 in the third period as the visitors pressed hard to tie the game. Ramage also had an assist.
Quintin Fisk made 37 stops for Vernon.
The Flames, meanwhile, had a tough time with Kamloops this season. The Flames lost the first six meetings before salvaging an 18-10 victory in their regular season finale June 21 in Penticton.
Game 2 of the series goes Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Oliver Arena. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children under the age of 18.
The Flames got strong fan support in the two home games against Vernon and are hoping to attract even more spectators as they bid for their first ever title.