Daily Herald Staff
The results might not indicate as such, but the Prince Albert Predators came within a whisker of doing something really special on the weekend.
On Saturday the Predators took the unbeaten defending league champions right down to the wire before eventually losing 12-10 to the Regina Rifles and on Sunday the Predators were ahead by a goal heading into the final minute of their game against the Saskatoon Steelers only to fall just short in a 9-8 setback.
The weekend results leave Prince Albert in third place in the Prairie Gold Junior Lacrosse League standings with just three games left on the regular schedule. The Predators, who were riding a four-game winning streak entering the weekend, are now 6-3-0 with the 9-0-0 Rifles and 7-2-0 Saskatoon Smash ahead of them in the seven-team standings.
Prince Albert’s top two scorers once again paced the attack on the weekend with Tyler Tilford collecting three goals and two assists in the loss to Regina and two goals and two helpers against Saskatoon while Brennan Werrett had three goals and three assists on Saturday and followed that up with a pair of tallies on Sunday.
Team captain Brady Leachman also had a big weekend as the veteran runner had two goals and three assists against the Rifles and then set up three more goals against the Steelers.
Also scoring on Saturday for Prince Albert were Bennett Hopkins and Jagg Carlson while Braelan Frenette, with two, Arliss McCloy and Carlson also notched markers on Sunday. Josh Hopkins also collected three assists in the loss to Saskatoon.
The Rifles, who had scored an average of 17.5 goals per game prior to Saturday, needed a pair of late power-play markers to get past Prince Albert. Tristan and Taylor Frei, two of the league’s leading scorers who have averaged seven and three goals per game, respectively, were held to two goals each.
While that setback was disheartening it could also be considered a win especially since Regina is at the top of the league. Sunday’s loss was tougher to take as the Steelers, who only had two wins in their first nine games entering the weekend, were down by two goals to start the third period before eventually scoring the winning marker with 10 seconds left on the clock. They had also netted the tying goal just 34 seconds earlier.
Prince Albert will be on the road next weekend with games in Regina on Saturday against the Rifles and in Yorkton on Sunday against the Bulldogs. The Predators final home game will be on June 22 when the Regina Riot makes their only visit of the season.
LEAGUE NOTES: League playoffs will start at the end of June with the championship weekend – top four teams – taking place in Saskatoon in early July…The Saskatoon Smash have five brothers on their team and combined the Murphys – Brendon, Reid, Sam, Spencer and Matt - have scored 106 goals and set up 99 others in just nine games.