Predators veterans hoping to avenge 2022 loss

Hayden Ulriksen of the Prince Albert Predators sprints up the floor during Prairie Gold Lacrosse League action at the Kinsmen Arena. -- Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald

One game.

That’s how close the Prince Albert Predators came to a Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) championship a year ago, falling the championship game 13-7 to the Saskatoon Jr. Swat.

Prince Albert is hoping to avenge some demons this time around as they will head to Moose Jaw for the PGLL playoffs this weekend, starting with a semi final matchup Saturday night against the Regina Barracudas.

One returning player from last year’s team is Davin Ikert, who recorded one assist in the championship game last season.

He says the loss has been fuel for the Predators all season long.

“It’s been a huge motivation. We all have a bitter taste in our mouths from last year. We all want to win and we owe it to the guys from last year and the guys here this year to win it this year.”

Ikert adds he is looking forward to playing in a postseason atmosphere.

“There’s a buzz that nobody talks about. It’s just there, the fans feel it and we feel it. There’s a whole new level of game to play.”

Hayden Ulriksen was one of the leading scorers for the Predators in the championship game last season registering three points with two goals and one assist.

“Last year was kind of a heartbreaker for us.” Ulriksen said reflecting on last season’s loss. “We felt we were the better team going into it and not playing at home was a disadvantage for us. It was heartbreaking for the guys leaving who wanted to win that championship. That motivated us this year that have been on this team for a long time who want to finish our their career with a championship. This year, we got a real team to take it all the way.”

In order to reach the final, the Predators will have to win in their semi-final matchup against the Regina Barracudas. Prince Albert swept a doubleheader against Regina back on June 24 with 16-6 and 18-9 final scores.

Ulriksen says the Predators have been focused and locked in all season long.
“Regina is a rough team and they are tough. When they show up, they are a really good team. We’ve been focused on this championship since the first practice this year. We’re going to do whatever it takes to get to that championship.”

If the Predators advance to the final, they will face the winner of the Moose Jaw Mustangs (1-11) and the Swift Current Wolverines (10-1-1) in the championship game.

In the three game season series against Swift Current, the Predators finished with a record of 1-1-1, including an 8-8 tie at Kinsmen back on June 3 that only saw a single goal in the entire third period.

Ulriksen says playing a strong defensive game will be a major key if the Predators match up with Swift Current in the final.

“Swift has a really good transition game. They are really good at pressing us and it’s hard to transition the ball against them. I feel like if we shut down their transition game, our defense is solid and our offense can get past them.”

Prince Albert will square off with the Regina Barracudas at 8 p.m. Saturday night in Moose Jaw.