© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Taylor Wilcox of the Prince Albert Predators (No. 23) gets lined up for a face-off with a Saskatoon Smash player during Prairie Gold Junior Lacrosse League action on Saturday at the Kinsmen Arena. Wilcox was instrumental in helping the Predators improve their season record to 2-0 with a thrilling 18-17 triumph. The Predators, however, would suffer their first loss on Sunday in the rematch with the Smash in Saskatoon.
Generally when a team blows a seven-goal lead they will be like an ornery bear the next time they play a game.
The motivation for redemption is even higher when they meet the same opponent in their next outing and that is exactly what happened between the Prince Albert Predators and Saskatoon Smash on the weekend.
In the opening game of the home-and-home series on Saturday at the Kinsmen Arena, the Smash looked like they were in total control of the Prairie Gold Junior Lacrosse League match with their hosts when they took a 16-9 lead into the dressing room after two periods of play.
Enter Tyler Tilford.
The third-year player with the Predators scored four of his six goals in the final frame to help Prince Albert outscore the Smash 9-1 in that final 18 minutes and improve their season record to 2-0 with a thrilling 18-17 victory.
“I’ve never been in that big of a comeback,” admitted Tilford, whose final tally with 3:34 to play was the only lead Prince Albert would have the entire game. “It’s good for the guys; it’s pretty exciting.”
“We believed in Lucas (goaltender Lucas Wells) and we played really good,” added Tilford. “It’s a huge lift for the team and a big two points.”
While Tilford was the offensive star with his six goals and two assists, Wells was spectacular in net stopping 43 of 60 shots fired his way. There was some frustration in the second period as the game got away from the Predators with Saskatoon scoring nine times in the middle frame, but Wells made some brilliant stops to give Prince Albert a chance. Wells also chipped in with four assists.
As thrilling as the Saturday comeback was, Sunday’s outcome was pretty predictable as the Smash rebounded with a 19-9 triumph. The loss lowered Prince Albert’s record to 2-1 as they get ready for a busy stretch at the end of the month that will see them play the Saskatoon Steelers at home on May 24 before the team heads to Regina for the first-ever weekend festival where they will play Yorkton, Estevan and the Regina Riot on consecutive nights.
With 27 goals put on the board in two games a number of Predator players had an opportunity to pad their stats.
Taylor Wilcox had a big game on Saturday scoring three times with Brady Leachman netting a pair and setting up two others. Bennett Hopkins also scored twice on Saturday with singles coming from Brendon Beaulac, Kyle Sawchuk, Steve Caswell, Brody Low and Braelan Frenette.
Leachman led the way with three goals on Sunday while Tilford had another big game scoring twice and collecting one assist. Tilford had 12 goals and 16 assists in 10 games last year to lead all Predators in scoring while this year in three games he has 10 goals and five helpers. Also scoring for Prince Albert on Sunday were Sawchuk, Hopkins, Wilcox and Rhett Carlson.