The New Westminster Salmonbellies fell one game short of winning the B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League championship, but still have a chance to win the Canadian title.
The Salmonbellies lost 15-11 to the visiting Coquitlam Adanacs on Sunday in Game 5 of the best-of-five BCJALL final series. Coquitlam won the first two games, before New Westminster roared back to force the deciding game.
Both teams will move on to the Minto Cup national championship, as New Westminster is to play host to the four-team event that opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 26.
The Salmonbellies feature four Kamloops athletes — native sons Jeremy Bosher, Ty Hamer-Jackson and Quinn Smith, along with Brendan Ranford, an Edmonton native who spent five seasons with the WHL’s Blazers.
Ranford had two goals and two assists in Game 5, with Smith adding three helpers and Hamer-Jackson also picking up two assists.
Smith ended the playoffs sixth in league scoring with 25 points, including a league-high 19 assists. Bosher tied for 13th, with 18 points, including 11 goals. Hamer-Jackson had six points in four games, while Ranford had seven points in nine games.
Smith finished ninth in regular-season scoring with 76 points, including 49 assists, in 19 games. Bosher was 12th, with 74 points, including 36 goals. Hamer-Jackson only played in six regular-season games, but picked up four goals and nine assists, while Ranford appeared in 12 games, scoring one goal and assisting on six others.
The Adanacs, who won their fifth straight B.C. title, will be joined by New Westminster, Okotoks, Alta., and Whitby, Ont., at the Minto Cup. The final will be determined in a best-of-five series, scheduled to run Aug. 22-26.
* * *
The Kamloops Venom handed out its season awards on Sunday.
The Venom had a strong 2013 campaign, despite a rebuild, losing in the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League final.
Rob Peterson, the Venom’s captain, was a double-winner, taking the most valuable player and top scorer awards. Goaltender Dalan Etter was the Venom’s rookie of the year, with Brett DeFrias named the unsung hero.
Blair Hardman was named most inspirational player, with Marc Dumont and Ben Creasser sharing the best defender award.