Unfinished business: Predators capture PGLL title with overtime victory

Photo courtesy of the Prince Albert Predators Facebook Page. The Prince Albert Predators are 2023 PGLL Champions

It was a storybook finish for the Prince Albert Predators as they captured the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) title with a dramatic 12-11 overtime victory over the Swift Current Wolverines in Moose Jaw on Sunday night.

There was a sense of unfinished business heading into the championship game for Prince Albert as the Predators lost in the championship game in 2022 to the Saskatoon Jr. Swat.

“It feels like a weight lifted off our shoulders, off our team.” Head coach Lucas Wells said about the victory. “It always seemed like PA always had that burden of we’re not sure if we’re going to win. This year we threw the monkey off our back, and we were able to pull through. We’ve now developed that winning culture where we can win no matter the circumstances.”

Trailing by two with less than two minutes left in the third period, Brayden Rieger would bring Prince Albert within one with his second goal of the contest with 1:18 left to go in the third period.

With 16.9 seconds remaining, Wells would call a timeout and pull netminder Mason Hawkes for an extra attacker.

“I’ll be honest, we were just taking risks.” Wells said. “That’s all we were doing at that point, we had nothing to lose. We had to try and do something.”

Prince Albert would respond coming out of the timeout as Tyler Gusdal would pressure Swift Current’s Houston Finlayson, causing a turnover behind the Wolverine net.

Hayden Ulriksen would pick up the loose ball and find the back of net with just 8.1 seconds left to tie the game at 10-10.

One message Wells has preached from behind the bench all season long has been for the Predators to step up when faced with adversity.

He says he was extremely proud to see the team step up when the lights shined the brightest.

“We had a little two-minute break (between the third and overtime) and I told the guys we’ve fought adversity all year, we just overcame some adversity. We’re going to have some more in the next 10 minutes. I said we’re the best team here. You guys believe we are the best team and let’s go out and prove that in the next 10 minutes, and they did. I’m so proud of these guys.”

In the overtime period, Isaac Froese would give Swift Current the lead less than 30 seconds in with his third goal of the contest.

Four minutes later, the Predators would respond as Brayden Rieger would find the back of the net at the 5:49 mark on the power play. Braden Shewchuk picked up the lone helper.

The Predators would come up clutch in the final minute once again in overtime. Rieger would find the back of the net with just twenty seconds remaining to give Prince Albert a lead they would never relinquish.

It is the third time that the Predators have captured the PGLL championship.