Preds win big over Saskatoon

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald Aidan Horn of the Prince Albert Predators handles the ball during PGLL action Thursday night at the Kinsmen Arena.

After a tie over the weekend against Swift Current, the Prince Albert Predators found themselves back in the win column with a 17-3 win over the Saskatoon Jr. Swat Thursday night at the Kinsmen Arena.

Predators head coach Lucas Wells says Prince Albert got off to a slow start in the first period, but were able to pick up the intensity later in the frame.

“We started out so slow. We try and get the intensity up and we try everything, and we just continue to start slow. It’s just in our nature. Once we figured out we were in a game we just put the pedal down and we and we didn’t slow down and we showed why we’re one of the best teams in the league and we have to do that every night.”

Wells says not being aggressive on loose balls has been a big reason why the Predators have gotten off to slow starts this season.

“You pick up the most loose balls, you’re going to win the game if you don’t pick them up, you’re going to lose. Statistically (that’s) how it works. Usually within the first 8 minutes, we are very slow picking up loose balls. We get caught sleeping a little in the d zone and then our offense, we tend to rush things instead of playing our game.”

Saskatoon would score all three of their goals in the first period courtesy of Keenan Hunchak, Nate Gallant and Carson Welsh.

Reigning PGLL player of the week Mason Hawkes would stand tall in net the remainder of the game for Prince Albert, making 22 saves on 25 shots.

Wells says having strong goaltending gives Prince Albert the confidence to play a more aggressive game.

“You can take a more risks. Your defenders can jump more, they can attack more, you can pass more, you can be a little bit more aggressive. If you make a mistake, he’s there for you. Our team is so talented and we’re so fast and pressing is something that we’ve worked on all year and we’re now finally starting to see the benefits of it and it’s making the offensive game easier. He’s awesome, he’s a rock back there.”

Prince Albert would be led offensively by Talon Sandry who posted a seven-point night with four goals and three assists. Koltin Fyrk and Hayden Ulriksen also had five-point games for the Predators.

The Predators would take a 6-3 lead after the first period but would explode for six unanswered goals in the second period.

Wells says he was happy to see the Predators break out in the middle frame.

“We knew second periods are consistently our worst periods in a game. And today we just kind of used our experience of learning, especially from that swift game the past game, and we kind of just excelled through that. It broke that barrier and that’s what we’ve been trying to do all year, trying to break through that second period barrier and we did today. And that was I think the second period was our best period. We were on the penalty kill for, I got to say, 18 minutes.”

With the victory, the Predators improve to 7-1-1 on the season and sit tied for first place in the PGLL standings with the Swift Current Wolverines.

Prince Albert returns to action on Saturday, Jun. 24 when they welcome the Regina Barracudas to the Kinsmen Arena for a pair of games beginning at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.