When Laurent Brossoit went down with an injury, the prevailing thought was that the Bakersfield Condors were about to go down, too, as in a long fall down the standings.
But in their first game without the star netminder and top prospect, the Condors got a lift from a player who personally needed a big boost of confidence as well.
Although it wasn’t close to his record-setting 59-save performance against the Los Angeles Kings back in January 2014, the outing Ben Scrivens put together on Friday night was solid – something that hasn’t been said of him in a long time. Scrivens posted 31 saves as the Condors beat the San Diego Gulls 3-0 – the second consecutive Friday night that the Condors have beaten their arch-rivals on home ice.
“It’s been a tough season, a tough start for me, but my teammates have stuck behind me. They played great and made me look really good.” -Scrivens
Reinhart – Fayne
Hunt – Simpson
Oesterle – Musil
Hamilton – Yakimov – Slepyshev
Pitlick – Miller – Ford
LaLeggia – Platzer – Chase
Moroz – Currie – Kessy
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) December 11, 2015
- Tyler Pitlick appears in just his fourth game of the season. He’s got lots of jump right off the start.
- Kyle Platzer is right on top of a loose puck in the slot but his high shot is blockered away by Gulls goalie Ryan Faragher.
- An ugly turnover by Griffin Reinhart puts the puck on the stick of San Diego’s Matt Bailey. He wires one but Ben Scrivens gets part of his glove on it. Not the sort of play the Oilers’ brass are wanting from Reinhart as better decision-making is part of his improvement process.
- It’s no surprise that the Gulls, who are the Condors longest-serving rival dating back to the both the WCHL and ECHL, are wanting to mix it up after getting beaten by Bakersfield just a week ago. Joseph Cramarossa starts it off with a thump into the back of Greg Chase.
- Moments later, former NHL enforcer Brian McGrattan blasts Josh Currie into the boards from behind. Kale Kessy comes to his teammate’s aid and drops the gloves. Even at his advanced age, McGrattan is on another level as a true heavyweight and he wins the tussle with some rights at the end.
- The ensuing power play doesn’t produce much for the Condors but it’s clear that Anton Slepyshev along the half-wall poised for a one-timer is the designed set-up.
- Just after the PP ends, the Gulls get a chance but Scrivens is there to hold off an initial shot as well as the rebound try by Shea Theodore.
1-0 Condors – The Condors force a turnover at centre. Ryan Hamilton collects the loose puck, strides in, and from the top of the circle, blasts a shot to the far corner past Faragher. GOAL: Hamilton (7) unassisted 12:55
- Dillon Simpson stands his man up at the Bakersfield blue line. Unfortunately, he was too quick jumping over the boards and the Condors all called for too many men. San Diego can’t manufacture much at all on the man-advantage.
- Mitch Moroz tries a nifty move, faking that he’s headed behind the net, and then trying to stuff the puck short side but Faragher has the pad down.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) December 12, 2015
- The Condors take back-to-back penalties early in the second with Bogdan Yakimov and Joey LaLeggia both going off for high-sticking.
2-0 (SH) – Matthew Ford whips a shot off the shoulder of Faragher. What should be an easy clear and rush back up ice turns into a nightmare. Nick Ritchie and Brandon Montour have a malfunction at the junction and neither retrieves the puck, leaving Ford to pounce on his own rebound and put a shot off Faragher’s arm and into the net. GOAL: Ford (9) unassisted 8:40
- Right at the end of the power play, San Diego’s Andrew O’Brien shoves Platzer in front of the net and Kessy scoots in to give him a face wash.
- The Condors go right back on the penalty kill as Reinhart is sent off for cross-checking Nic Kerdiles. On the PP, Kerdiles is popped by David Musil. The Gulls manage one good chance on the power play as Montour gets off a one-timer but Scrivens is right on top of things.
- Kessy brings the pain again as he puts Mike Sgarbossa on the ice with a solid bump at the Gulls blue line.
- Kyle Bonis comes off the wall and gets free behind the Condors defenders to go in alone. Scrivens plays it perfectly, outwaiting the shooter and forcing him into a weak forehand deke.
- Almost the exact same play at the other as Pitlick gets free off the wall and has a clear lane to the net. He tries to go backhand and his rejected by Faragher.
- Mark Fayne, in his Condors debut, takes an elbow to the back of the head from Ritchie up against the glass. It looks like they’re going to drop the gloves but ultimately Ritchie strides to the bench.
— AHL (@TheAHL) December 12, 2015
- Kessy makes it a hat trick of big hits as he puts a shoulder into Kerdiles, who should know better by now that it’s not his night to be a physical force.
- The Condors blow a great opportunity on a 4-on-2. Yakimov delivers the puck into the zone and gets it to Slepyshev who then drops it for the trailer Jordan Oesterle. But instead of shooting with three guys headed to the net, Oesterle elects to force a pass back to Slepyshev and the whole thing is wasted.
3-0 – Simpson’s shot from the point goes off the endboards right to Greg Chase who tries a quick wraparound. Three Gulls are caught looking for bread crumbs and LaLeggia is right there to toss it in for his first AHL goal. GOAL: LaLeggia (1) ASSISTS: Chase, Simpson 12:14
- Pitlick, who’s been all over the place and looking to be in fine form, makes a nifty play on a 2-on-1 to setup Andrew Miller but the redirect goes off Faragher’s glove and then the crossbar.
1. Ben Scrivens – Bakersfield
2. Matthew Ford – Bakersfield
3. Kale Kessy – Bakersfield
From the nest
Coach Fleming is obviously liking Joey LaLeggia playing up front as the slick skater remained in the forward ranks despite the return of both Tyler Pitlick and Mitch Moroz.
“He’s tenacious on the puck, strong on the forecheck, he’s such a good skater that he creates separation in the zone which frees up the other guys, and he takes the puck to the net.” -Condors head coach Gerry Fleming on LaLeggia
Braden Christoffer and Marco Roy were the healthy scratches amongst the forwards with Martin Gernat sitting as the extra defenceman which has become the norm. Laurent Brossoit joined an injury list that still has on it Kellen Jones, Josh Winquist and Phil McRae … Alexis Loiseau, who was sent down from the Condors to ECHL Norfolk earlier this week, scored once last night as the Admirals beat the Adirondack Thunder (Calgary) 6-1. Adam Courchaine, the fifth goalie the Admirals have used this season, made 28 saves for the win in his debut.