The Prince Albert Outlaws built up a big first period lead and never looked back as they closed out their inaugural season with a 14-6 victory at Kinsmen Arena.
Tyler Tilford and Javan Bexson both scored hat tricks, and Tanner Fetch picked up the win in goal, as the Outlaws cruised to victory over the Saskatoon SWAT.
Player/coach Mike Peterson said they had a strong first season in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League, and they wanted to end it on a high note.
“We knew we weren’t going to make the playoffs (after last weekend). We knew this was it, so we just all left it out there.”
Prince Albert opened the scoring a little more than three minutes into the contest when Brennan Boruch took a feed from Kent Porter and slotted home the game’s first goal.
The Outlaws increased their lead to 3-0 before the SWAT broke through for their first of the game with roughly 11 minutes to play.
The score stayed at 3-1 until the last four minutes of the first, when the Outlaws exploded for three goals in less than three minutes, giving the home side a 6-1 lead heading into the intermission.
Peterson said the team did all the little things right in the first period, and it paid off on the scoreboard.
“We were communicating on defence, our passes were good, we were using that 30 second shot clock to our advantage on offence and making good shots, and our goalie played a heck of a game,” he said. “Everyone was clicking.”
The Outlaws ran into penalty trouble in the second period, allowing Saskatoon to close the gap to four goals. However, last minute shorthanded tallies from Bexson and Taylor Wilcox gave Prince Albert a 12-6 lead heading into the final intermission.
Saskatoon was then held scoreless in the third, giving the Outlaws their fourth win of the year.
The victory marked the end of a successful debut season for the Prince Albert club, which showed plenty of improvement as the year went on.
“We have all played junior and high up levels of lacrosse, just not for a few years,” Peterson explained. “I think we got the rust knocked off about halfway through (the season), had a couple weeks off there, and I think that kind of helped energize the boys.”
The Outlaws ended the season with a 4-7-1 record, good enough for fifth place in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League Senior Division, and only two points out of the final playoff spot.
Although the team didn’t reach their goal of making the playoffs, Peterson said they were happy with their progress. He added that it was almost guaranteed the Outlaws would return for a second year.
The team expects to bolster its roster with graduating players from the Prince Albert Predators, the city’s junior lacrosse club, while also picking up a few veterans senior players.
Peterson said that bodes well for the future.
“There were guys who wanted to play with us this year who just couldn’t for family commitments or things like that. They couldn’t make it, but I think it’s awesome that we’ve got something going here again.”