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They say that to be a great comeback, two criteria must be fulfilled. First, the deficit overcome has to be sizeable. Second, the comeback had to take place in a series or game of serious import. On June 23rd and 24th 2012, both of these criteria were met in spades by the underdog Kelowna Kodiaks Bantam team, who for the first time in over seven years brought home the Zone Championship title in their division with a come from behind win over Kamloops at the McArthur Island Sports Centre.
Having defeated the number one Kamloops seed the previous day 8-7 via a dramatic sudden death victory goal by Kodiak Caden Delaurier, Kelowna found themselves quickly down 0-2 in the first period. Captain James Alexander, who averaged 5.6 ppg during three Championship games, opened the scoring for Kelowna with only 20 seconds remaining in the first period. Kamloops continued to execute their fast break and pick and roll to build a 5-2 lead with 8 minutes remaining in the second period. A goal from Kelowna’s Kristian Beech at the 2:38 mark of the second period saw the Kodiaks down 3-5 at the second intermission. Kamloops came out ready to close out the game again scoring early to go up 6-3. This would be the last time Kamloops found mesh.
Persevering on a message of relentless defense emphasizing shadow match-ups against Kamloops three top scorers, Kelowna battled back dramatic goal by dramatic goal. Hot sniper James Alexander scored two quick goals in under a minute to bring the game to 5-6. Kodiaks veteran Joshua Dubrett then stunned Kamloops by leveling the game at 6 only a minute later. In what would be the game winner, Assistant Captain Carson Mintram notched his fourth goal of the Championship tournament to give the Kodiaks their first lead of the game, 7-6. With just under four minutes remaining in the game, goalie out, extra attacker on the floor, Kamloops was unable to beat the Kelowna defense or Kelowna goal-tender Kieran MacKay, who allowed only one Kamloops goal in the third period. Equally notable, despite the intensity and hard checking brought by Kamloops, Kelowna maintained their composure and played 60 minutes penalty free. A jubilant Kelowna team streamed onto the floor and accepted the well earned Championship banner, a moment few players, parents or coaches will soon forget.
In what was a character building season and superlative Championship weekend, Kelowna Minor Lacrosse congratulates the Kelowna Bantam 2 Kodiaks for their dedication, perseverance, teamwork and accomplishment.