The Prince Albert Outlaws struck early and often on route to ending a three-game losing skid and clinching fifth spot in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse league.
Brody Holizki had four goals and Scott Zelensky had another three as the Outlaws downed the Saskatoon SWAT 10-7 at Kinsmen Arena on Friday.
The win means the Outlaws are guaranteed home floor advantage in the B-side playoffs, but could possibly squeak into the A-side depending on how the final days of the regular season play out.
Outlaws player-coach Lawrence Holizki said he was pleased with how hard the Outlaws came out of the gate.
“We talked about it in the locker room. The boys said, ‘we just want to get a quick, fast start (and) move the ball,” Holizki said after the game. “Then we were just able to catch the goalie unprepared a few times and got a little lucky on a couple, so that worked in our favour.”
The Outlaws took charge early in Friday’s contest, pinning the visiting SWAT in their own end for long sections at a time. They were rewarded with goals from five different goal scorers, and took a 5-1 lead into the first intermission.
However, things didn’t go as smoothly in the second period. Although the Prince Albert club scored four goals, they struggled to contain a Saskatoon offence that came alive for a five-goal period of their own.
“The second period is that long change. Typically that’s our worst period,” Holizki explained. “Usually that will make or break a game for us. If we can come out still having a lead, we’re usually okay going into the third, but a few games we’ve given up that lead. The second period is not our friend.”
With the Outlaws holding on to a 9-6 lead, the final period turned into a cagey affair. The two teams exchanged one goal apiece, but got no further against goaltenders Pat Mallough of Saskatoon and Tanner Fetch of Prince Albert. The game ended with a 10-7 Outlaws win.
Holiizki credited improved fitness and better communication for his team’s victory.
“Guys are talking about picks on defence and helping on offence when they’re moving the ball. Just a lot of communication, and guys are getting into a lot better shape,” he chuckled. “At the beginning of the season, we were a little out of shape.”
With a Saskatoon Steelers win Sunday afternoon, Prince Albert finished in fifth. They’ll play at home Sunday at 8 p.m. against the Saskatoon Plainsmen at the Kinsmen Arena.