Catching Up with the Condors

The good news first. A ton of stuffed animals hit the ice in a colourful display and not a single Condor was hurt in the process.

The bad news – the injury-ravaged Bakersfield Condors with eight AHL rookies in the lineup didn’t have much of anything going for them on Saturday. A night after dodging past the Stockton Heat 6-5 on the road in a rare offensive explosion, the Condors were back in their home nest and hardly got much on track in falling 3-2 to the Heat before a season-high crowd of 8,212 on Teddy Bear Toss Night.

“Regardless of how many rookies we have (in the lineup), regardless of how many guys we have banged up, it’s an opportunity for guys who don’t get big minutes, that don’t play in critical situations, to showcase themselves. It’s an opportunity for guys that maybe don’t get the opportunity if we had different guys in the lineup to really force our hand when these guys do come back in the lineup.” – Condors head coach Gerry Fleming






Nikitin – Simpson 

Gernat – Musil

Hunt – Pageau


Hamilton – Miller – Slepyshev

Kessy – Currie – Ford 

Christoffer – Loiseau – Chase 

LaLeggia – Platzer – Roy

First Period

  • The Condors, who started the Currie line, are hemmed in from the get go and just 1:38 in, David Musil is called for tripping
  • Calgary Flames’ top prospect Oliver Kylington has an open look on the PP taken away by Braden Christoffer’s block.

1-0 Heat – A harmless dump-in turns into an adventure. Martin Gernat expects the puck to go behind the net but it instead comes off an endboard at a bizarre angle right to Hunter Smith who feeds Blair Riley for an easy tap-in.

G: Riley (3) A: Smith, Shore 4:01

Post-Game Note: Gerry Fleming was none too pleased about the whole situation, stating he had complained about the board several times to Rabobank Arena staff but nothing had been done. Bet it gets fixed on Monday.

  • The Condors’ call-ups from ECHL Norfolk continue to do some good work. Alexis Loiseau’s hustle results in a near miss in tight by Marco Roy.
  • Gernat tries to make up for the misread by wiping out Freddie Hamilton with a hip check inside the Bakersfield zone and then jumping in on the return rush only to wind up in the Stockton net.
  • Greg Chase makes a neat touch pass at centre to spring Loiseau who tries to go five-hole but he’s turned aside by Joni Ortio, who had given up four of the Condors six goals only one night earlier.
  • Laurent Brossoit has a puck bounce awkwardly off him and he’s forced to pluck a rebound out of the air off the stick of Riley.

2-0 Heat – Defenceman Turner Elson dangles along the blue line then floats a wrister towards the goal that somehow avoids about five bodies including Brossoit’s and goes straight in.

G: Elson (3) A: Wotherspoon 11:52

  • Anton Slepyshev comes off the cycle and tries to go five-hole. He shows some two-way game coming back on the same shift to take the puck off a Heat player at the Bakersfield blue line.

2-1 – It all starts when the linesman declares that Andrew Miller and Slepyshev didn’t get off prior to an icing call and summons them back for the faceoff. In an ironic twist, Miller promptly steals the puck at the blue line, goes in on a partial break, and puts a drop pass on Ryan Hamilton’s stick. Hamilton burns Ortio and it’s raining bears.

G: Hamilton (6) A: Miller 13:55

  • Some good pressure down the stretch in the first but the Condors can’t get another high-quality chance. They do draw a penalty at the 20:00 mark.

Second Period

  • You know the Condors are pretty short on high-end talent when Chase and Kale Kessy see power-play time. Nothing doing on that man-advantage.
  • Loiseau sets up Roy in front but they can’t jam it in. Loiseau’s pursuit winds up costing him a goaltender interference penalty.
  • Just after the power play, Brossoit takes a shot off the mask. The Condors come back down the ice and Slepyshev hits the second late trailer but Brad Hunt is stopped by Ortio.
  • Christoffer and Chase get into a heated exchange with some Heat players in front of the net as the pair show some welcome truculence.
  • What was not welcome was Matthew Ford tossing out his elbow at the side of the Stockton net moments later. A textbook dumb penalty in the offensive zone especially by a veteran and one who just returned from a two-game suspension for a hit to the head.

3-1 Heat – Stockton make Ford pay for his foul as, for a second time, a long wrist shot from the blue line finds the net – this one off the stick of Jakub Nakladal.

G: Nakladal (1) A: Shore 8:31

“I think there was a moment of frustration there, a little frustration on his part and normally you don’t see that from him. Maybe it was a bit of a borderline call but regardless you’ve got to stay disciplined which we talk about all the time.” – Fleming

  • A legitimately questionable call soon follows when Christoffer is tagged for an elbow, but Stockton can’t manage much other than two point shots from Brett Kulak. One was shuffled away by Brossoit and the other was blocked by Dillon Simpson.

Third Period

  • A lot of stagnant play. Stockton sitting back on the lead. Bakersfield not doing much to generate offence.
  • Loiseau whips a pass to the net and Chase barely misses connecting for a tip-in.
  • Musil is wiped out in the corner. No call on the play and Musil takes out his frustration on the bench gate.
  • Ford and Kessy can’t bang in a puck during a scramble. Nikita Nikitin dials up a rush and the ensuing loose puck in front is swept away.

3-2 – The Condors draw a penalty with exactly two minutes left, and 51 seconds into the power play, Nikitin tees one up and blows it past Ortio.

G: Nikitin (1) A: Hunt

  • Bakersfield struggles to get Brossoit out for an extra attacker. The Condors go offside with 22 seconds left and don’t get another chance.


  1. Joni Ortio – Stockton
  2. Andrew Miller – Bakersfield
  3. Ryan Hamilton – Bakersfield



The Oilers assigned defenceman Griffin Reinhart to the Condors and he was here in time to play Saturday night. Only problem was that his gear didn’t make it.

SICK BAY:  It’s ugly to say the least. The Condors are so short that defencemen Nick Pageau and Joey LaLeggia have been used on the wings the past two games. Even recently re-acquired ECHL Condor Kellen Jones was hurt after just one game in the lineup. Also on the shelf are Mitch Moroz, Bogdan Yakimov (lower body), Phil McRae (Valley Fever), Josh Winquist (knee), Jordan Oesterle (concussion), and Tyler Pitlick (concussion). 

BARE CUPBOARD: The Condors aren’t going to get much more lineup bolstering from their ECHL affiliate as the Norfolk Admirals are decimated as well. The Admirals made seven transactions in the last week resulting in six forwards coming, four forwards going out, a goalie loaned to them being recalled, a new emergency backup goalie signed, and one defenceman arriving. 

ON THE EYE: The Columbus Blue Jackets had a scout at the game, leading to chatter about a rumoured three-way trade involving them, the Oilers and New York Islanders … Los Angeles Kings scout and former Triple Crown Line member Dave Taylor took in the game as did Calgary Flames player personnel rep Ron Sutter, who offered a beleaguered chuckle when asked about the five goalies on the Stockton roster including star prospect Jon Gillies who is sidelined with a potentially long-term ailment.

There’s some guys who are really stepping up, and it’s the same as we had last year when we brought up guys from Bakersfield to Oklahoma City. We ended up keeping five of those guys going down our stretch drive and through the playoffs. It was an opportunity and when they had it they showcased their talents, forced our hands, and when guys came back we went with the guys that laid it out on the line and took advantage of their opportunity. The same thing presents itself right now.”