The PGLL semi-final between the Prince Albert Predators and Regina Barracudas was a one sided affair, with the home town Preds coming out on top with an emphatic 20-3 win on Tuesday night at the Kinsmen Arena. The win punched their ticket to the PGLL final, where they will take on the Saskatoon Jr. Swat on Friday night in Saskatoon.
“I was really pleased with our start especially,” coach Tyson Fetch said after the game. “We did a good job of setting the tone early and we didn’t let our foot off the gas. Our real issue all year has been holding on to a lead, and I’m glad that we didn’t let up.”
The Predators jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest, thanks to goals from Brayden Reiger, Tyson Perreault, and Caidyn Prediger. The Barracudas got one back on a goal from Jaxson Lenz to make it 3-1 with 11:10 left in the first, but Kade Beaton scored with 9:32 to go to restore Prince Albert’s three goal lead, as they led 4-1 heading into the second.
The Predators piled on more goals in the second period, scoring seven straight, including a powerplay goal and two shorthanded markers. Matthew Cudmore and Hayden Ulriksen led the charge in the middle frame, as each player scored twice. Reiger, as well as Brycen Brule and Waylon Alstadt rounded out the second period scoring for Prince Albert. Regina’s lone goal in the frame came from Lenz with 18 seconds to go, as the Preds took a commaning 11-1 lead into the third.
The second period also saw some nasty stuff, as Perrault engaged in a heated exchange with Regina’s Tanner Hall. Battling in the corner away from the play, the two went down on the floor, and started landing blows on one another. Hall was given a cross checking minor and an unnecessary roughness major, while Perreault was dealt an unnecessary roughness major, an unnecessary roughness minor, and a facemasking major, which resulted in him being kicked out of the game.
“Emotions run high in the game, and it was a very physical game,” Fetch said. “Guys get fed up with whatever is going on to them, and Tyson took it into his own hands. I’d rather see them drop the mitts and fight, but a wrestling match is a wrestling match.”
In the third period, Prince Albert didn’t take their foot off the gas for a second, as they put together their highest scoring period of the game. Nine goals in the final 20 minutes put a 20 spot up on the scoreboard in front of a packed house. Cudmore and Prediger both completed hat tricks in the third, while Dillan Cochrane and Braden Shewchuk scored a pair of goals each. Preds captain Davin Ikert buried a goal midway through the third, while Owen Peifer added another with 5:22 left with Prince Albert on the powerplay to round out the scoring. On the Regina side, Lenz completed his own hat trick in the third period, but his three goals were the only ones to go up on the scoreboard for the Barracudas, as the Predators walked away with the 20-3 win.
Duncan Fetch was a brick wall in goal all game for the Predators, stopping 31 of 34 shots. He also picked up an assist in the game. On the other side of the floor, the Predators mustered 78 shots on goal in the contest, including outshooting Regina 31-9 after the first period.
“Defense wins games, but if the other team doesn’t have the ball because we’re on offense, they’re not winning,” Fetch said. “Our goalie made 31 saves, but he had to make those saves.”
With the Saskatoon Jr. Swat beating the Swift Current Wolverines 19-14 in the other PGLL semi-final, it’ll set up the championship between Saskatoon and Prince Albert on Friday. The Swat finished the regular season one point ahead of the Predators, which means they will get to enjoy the luxury of their home floor.
Saskatoon got the better of Prince Albert in the regular season in two meetings. Although they tied 11-11 in their first game of the year, the Swat came out on top 9-8 in their second meeting, which was Prince Albert’s only loss of the season. Despite the regular season outcome, Fetch believes his team will be ready to go when the two clubs square off on Friday night.
“I think the boys were ready to play tonight, and if they’re ready to play again on Friday, we’ll have a real chance,” Fetch explained. “Saskatoon has a solid squad and they picked up a few players since we played them last. We’re going to have our work cut out for us that’s for sure. It’ll be a really good game.”