The South Okanagan Flames lost more than just a game in a 14-8 decision to the Vernon Tigers at Memorial Arena Monday.
They lost a mental edge following their performance against the Tigers to start the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League (TOJLL) season. Flames assistant captain Chris Pond said that mental edge was discussed in the first period, which they trailed 5-3 on Monday.
“Maybe some guys seem a little timid. They are a good team,” said Pond, who played two years of lacrosse with the Simon Fraser University Clan. “I believe they are the best team against us. They will be the hardest team to beat. If we show that maybe we are a little scared, they are going to eat us alive.”
The Tigers padded their lead in the second outgunning the Flames 6-2 to give them an 11-5 cushion after two. Pond said their effort wasn’t nearly as good the first time the teams met.
“We’re just not coming to the room mentally prepared,” said Pond, adding that is what coach Kevin Thompson told his group. “There’s moments out there we are ready for five minutes. A great five minutes and then the next time everybody just went downhill. It’s a collective team effort.”
Pond also pointed to the fact they need to get to more loose balls.
“I think it’s desire. It’s just plain hard work,” said Pond.
Pond also talked about the odd-man rushes given up, especially with goalie Dean Grimm facing three-on-zero plays, which are unacceptable.
“We got to play smarter. We showed brilliance that we could keep up with them, then slid off,” said Pond, who collected three assists.
After playing in Kamloops Saturday, and losing 11-10, then in Rutland against the Kelowna Raiders Sunday, and winning 12-8, Pond said it was possible fatigue was a factor Monday. Thompson said they never want to use fatigue as an excuse.
“I got a lot of good athletes out there,” he said.
Thompson said his group played respectable then added they need to work harder.
“They worked hard the whole game,” said Thompson. “We worked hard, but we got to work harder.”
Thompson also wants to see his players be more disciplined. The Flames took 21 minutes in penalties and are the second most penalized team in TOJLL.
“Any two minute minor is going to kill you. It wears out your defence,” said Thompson. “That’s two minutes that you’re not going to get a goal, unless you got lucky enough to get a shorty.”
Scoring for the Flames were Connor Walton and Mitch Brodt with three and Kaid MacLeod and Jake MacLeod with one each. For the Tigers, Ryan Sarazin led with four goals.
With the loss, the Flames now have two wins and three losses, while the Tigers are 4-0. The Flames visit Armstrong Wednesday to face the Shamrocks.