The second home game of the season for the Prince Albert Predators was entertaining right down to the final buzzer.
Another packed crowd saw the Predators and Saskatoon Swat play to an 11-11 tie on Tuesday night, keeping the Prince Albert squad undefeated on the season.
“It was pretty similar to our first home game because we gave up the lead,” head coach Tyson Fetch said. “We actually had a pretty substantial lead against Saskatoon but they came back. They have a really strong team with some really talented players. I think all in all it was another good game.”
The Predators found themselves trailing 5-4 after the first period, thanks to Swat player Stepan Friedl scoring the first four goals of the game for Saskatoon. Friedl also picked up an assist on Saskatoon’s fifth goal of the period which was scored by Nolan Fetch. Tyson Perreault scored a pair of first period goals for the Predators, while Dillan Cochrane and Liam Netmaker added a goal each in the first.
Prince Albert won the second period, taking a 9-8 lead into the first period. Cochrane added two more goals for the hat trick, while Perreault also scored his third goal of the game in the middle frame. Brayden Reiger and Koltin Fyrk rounded out the second period scoring for the Predators. Friedl scored his fifth goal of the contest in the second period for the Swat, while Carter Hansen and Haaken Steen also scored for Saskatoon.
The Swat tied things up at 9-9 early in the third period, as Friedl tallied his sixth goal of the game to bring it back to a deadlock. Hayden Ulriksen scored back to back goals for Prince Albert just under three minutes apart to give them an 11-9 lead, but Joshua Weston and Matous Tisler scored 23 second apart to tie things back up at 11-11. With no goals scored in the final seven minutes of the game and no overtime for regular season games, the Predators and Swat were left without a winner in the 11-11 tie.
“We didn’t know what to expect from Saskatoon,” Fetch said. “Looking at their record, they had done fairly well, and I think it was a very good game. The score dictated that in the end, because I think both teams deserved some points in that game.
“We both traded some posts that could have maybe changed the outcome. We pulled our goalie with 27 seconds left and brought the ball down the floor, and we hit the post. Right there, that’s two inches away from winning the game. I think we could have gotten the win, but Saskatoon could have beat us as well. It’s somewhat disappointed, but it’s a learning experience.”
That learning experience is so valuable this early into the season given how young this Predator’s team is. Fetch says that it’s nice to have games like these for his players to build from, and take lessons that they can learn for the rest of the season.
“We’re going to make mistakes, because they don’t know the game that well at this level,” he explained. “For the most part we’re starting to figure things out. We’re strong on defense and we’re learning how to help each other out. There’s going to be growing pains, but our points are getting spread out among our players, which is a really good sign to see moving forward.”
The Predators started the 2022 season with a pair of road games, before hosting their home opener over the weekend. Now with two home games under their belt, Fetch says the support from the home crowd has been amazing, and it’s something he hopes will continue for the rest of the year.
“It’s been great. The first game we had more than 500 people in the building, and even in our last game we had close to 400 people. It’s good to have the home crowd there, and we’re giving them something to cheer about. The game of lacrosse is fast and it’s exciting. There’s always entertainment, there’s prizes for the kids. It brings families out, and if we can keep them happy and cheering, then there is no team that is going to beat us at our home rink.”
The Predators are back in action on Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen Arena against the Regina Barracuda. Opening faceoff is at 1 p.m.