The wait is nearly over for the Prince Albert Predators.
After putting together a dominant 11-1 record in the regular season in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League, the Predators are on the brink of winning their first junior division title in team history this weekend as they’ll host the Regina Rampage for a best-of-three series at the Kinsmen Arena.
“The team is pretty excited about playing once again,” Predators head coach Tyson Fetch said. “When you have a week to sit back and think about things, the preparation process can go one of two ways. Sometimes it can be good or sometimes it could be bad.
“We have a two-hour practice set for Thursday night to go over a few things and we’ll be ready to go for Friday. We’re all looking forward to being in this position.”
It was an impressive campaign for the Predators in the PGLL, as they found the back of the net on 171 occasions and limited their opponents to just 71 goals.
“If you look at where we were from the first game of the regular season to now, we’ve improved in every game,” Fetch said.
“I think a lot of that has to do with us coaches preaching the importance of working hard in practice to our players. In the past, we haven’t seen that intensity and drive from our guys. This season, we’ve seen the desire from them with how much they want to improve, and it shows with our record.”
The Rampage handed the Predators their only loss of the season in a 10-7 affair on May 26 in Lumsden, but were on the losing end of their other three meetings this year.
“They are the only other team in the league that can match us with size and skill,” Fetch said. “I think we have the advantage in goal, but the scoring ability that both teams have is pretty even.
“It’s all going to come down to the transition game. If we can beat them in moving from offence to defence, I think we stand a really good chance.”
The one thing that Fetch would like to see improved upon is the team’s discipline, as the Predators led the PGLL in penalty minutes with 246.
“If we keep taking penalties against Regina, they are going to beat us with their power play,” Fetch said.
“I’m not too worried about our power play as we were well over 50 percent for the season, and we’ve also been fortunate to score some short-handed goals as well. However, you can’t win too many games if you find yourself heading to the penalty box on a regular basis, especially at this time of the year.”
The best-of-three final will begin at 8:30 p.m. Friday, with the second contest getting underway at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
If the two teams are tied at one in the series after Saturday’s contest, a 10-minute mini-game will take place and a shootout will then be held to break the tie if necessary.
Saturday will also see the Prince Albert Outlaws in action at the Kinsmen Arena, as they’ll take on the Saskatoon SWAT in the PGLL senior division B-side final at 8 p.m.
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