If the Prince Albert Predators had any nerves ahead of their Prairie Gold Lacrosse League junior division final against the Standing Buffalo Fighting Sioux this weekend, they weren’t showing it during practice at the Kinsmen Arena Thursday night.
“The guys are pretty loose right now and they are ready to play,” Predators coach Tyson Fetch said. “Our key right now is to keep them calm but focused. There’s no use in getting too excited about the final before you play it.
“When I look around the floor, I think there are only two guys that don’t have the experience of being in the final, whether that be from last year’s championship team or if they were an affiliated player on our roster.”
The reigning PGLL junior division titleholders earned a bye to the best-of-three final with an 8-0-2 record and had a league best 125 goals during the campaign.
The 6-2-2 Fighting Sioux finished third in the regular season standings and advanced to the championship on Tuesday night with a 12-5 road win over a Swift Current Wolverines side that earned the second seed for the playoffs with a 7-2-1 record.
“These games will either be decided in overtime or it will be a one-goal contest,” Fetch said.
“Both sides have really good offences and solid defences, plus the goaltending is some of the best in the league. It should be a fairly even matchup.”
The two sides played to a 6-6 tie in their first meeting of the season at the Kinsmen Arena on May 4, while the Predators prevailed in a 13-10 matchup on June 2 at the Fort Qu’Appelle Rec Centre.
“We were able to come from behind to win that second game, but they were missing one of their leading scorers and that made a huge difference,” Fetch said.
“I think it will very similar to what we saw in our first meeting against them here at home. I don’t anticipate either team to run away with it.”
The best-of-three final gets underway Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena, with game two slated to start at 1 p.m. Sunday.
If the series is tied at one after that contest, a 10-minute mini-game will take place to determine the league champion.
“I don’t know if I like it all that much, but at that point it’s even for both teams,” Fetch said.
Meanwhile, the Prince Albert Outlaws will play host to the PGLL’s senior division Tier II final on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena.
They will be going up against either the Meewasin Valley Plainsmen or the Saskatoon Steelers, who will square off in the semifinal on Saturday night in Saskatoon.