Predators suffer PGLL final loss to Saskatoon in Fetch’s final game as bench boss

The Prince Albert Predators fell 13-7 in the league final to the Saskatoon Swat on Friday night. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

The Saskatoon Jr. Swat used home floor to their full advantage, as they were able to hold off the Prince Albert Predators 13-7 on Friday night to capture the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League title. A seven goal second period for the Swat proved to be the difference in the game, as Prince Albert’s offense couldn’t keep up with home side.

The conclusion of the game also brought an end to Tyson Fetch’s coaching tenure, as he announced that he will be stepping away from the sport, and passing the torch to the new wave of young coaches.

“We were up against a really good team, and we knew that we needed to play a perfect game to beat Saskatoon,” Fetch said. “We couldn’t turn our nerves into positives on the floor. We looked like a really nervous team, and we had trouble shaking that off, and we just couldn’t get settled into the game.”

The Swat scored two goals 55 seconds apart to open the scoring five minutes into the game. Stepan Friedl and Henry Elliot scored the goals to put Saskatoon out in front 2-0, but the Predators responded with two goals of their own to even the score. Caidyn Prediger and Matthew Cudmore scored just over two minutes apart, with the latter coming on the powerplay as Prince Albert drew even with seven minutes to go in the first. With 4:59 left in the opening frame, Pavel Srch got one back for the hosts, as Saskatoon took a 3-2 lead into the second period.

Prince Albert tied things up just 16 seconds into the second period, thanks to a nice goal from Braden Shewchuk, and Tyler Gusdal scored 3:04 in, giving the Preds their first lead of the game. However, poor defensive play midway through the frame put Prince Albert in a big hole. Saskatoon scored six straight goals in a 6:32 stretch to go up 9-4.

Hayden Ulriksen and Cudmore scored for the Predators to end the second, while Roman Marshall potted another for the Swat, as Prince Albert went into the third with their season on the line, trailing 10-6.

“Once they took that lead, we just couldn’t get back in it,” Fetch said. “We kept it close in the first period even though we were outshot. Midway through the second, we had those six minutes where we fell apart a little bit, and we would just give up breakaways, and our goalie couldn’t make those big saves.”

Ulriksen had the lone goal in the third period for the Predators, who couldn’t generate any offense in the final frame. Meanwhile, the Swat scored three third period goals, as they secured the 13-7 win, as well as the league title.

“We played really well in the third period, but we just couldn’t get any goals,” Fetch said. “We managed to keep the ball out of our net for the most part, and we seemed to play a lot better in the third period than we did in the first two.

“We win as a team and we lose as a team. As disappointing as it was, I was proud of the way our guys played the entire season. The effort that they put forth every game and the work ethic they gave me in practice, I’m really proud of this group.”

While the Preds weren’t able to get the win in their final game of the season, the team gave it their best effort in what was Fetch’s last game behind the bench. Fetch, who served nearly two decades within the game, decided that now is the time to take a very well deserved break from the sport.

“I’m going to be stepping away from the game for a bit,” he explained. “I’ve coached 17 years of lacrosse, I ran Prince Albert lacrosse for 10 or 11 years. I’ve also been coaching the Predators for 12 years now, so I’m ready to pass that torch on. Coaching is a huge commitment, and I feel like I have some young guys here that are ready to take over. They’ve got years of experience of playing, and I think they’re the right group to take over.”

Dillan Cochrane and Duncan Fetch also played their final game with the team in Friday’s loss, as they are the two graduating players this season.

The Predators will host their awards ceremony on Tuesday night to conclude their 2022 campaign.