The Condors Fall to the Texas Stars

Condors

After winning five in a row and getting into the thick of the playoff race in the AHL’s Pacific Division, the Bakersfield Condors dropped their second straight on Saturday night, falling 4-2 to the Texas Stars in a game that could have cured any frustrating case of insomnia.

The Condors had next to no spark for much for the game, save for some early inspired play from the fourth line of Kale Kessy, Josh Currie, and Luke Gazdic. They played the way a fourth line should in creating some havoc and mustering up a chance or two. But they weren’t able to sustain it, thanks in large part to a steady parade to the penalty box for both teams, and none of their early hard-headed work rubbed off on the rest of the team.

Special teams hurt the Condors badly. The Stars struck for two on the power play while the Condors were 0-for-4 and saw their current rut go to 0-for-20 with the man-advantage.

A night earlier, the Condors fell behind by three and couldn’t complete the comeback losing 3-2 to the San Diego Gulls. That game ended the Condors’ winning streak at five and was the Gulls’ first win in their last four against their most-heated California rival.

LINEUP

GOALTENDERS

Laurikainen

Brossoit

DEFENCE

Simpson – Hunt 

Reinhart – Oesterle

LaLeggia – Musil

FORWARDS

Klinkhammer – Khaira – Pitlick

Hamilton – Winquist – Miller 

Ford – Platzer – Slepyshev

Gazdic – Currie – Kessy 

FIRST PERIOD


  • Texas defenceman Stephen Johns bulldogs Condors winger Matthew Ford into the boards and heads to the box but Condors amount nothing on the ensuing power play.
  • The Condors’ fourth line drives the net resulting in at least three players including Texas goalie Philippe Desrosiers winding up inside the net and against the back wall. Luke Gazdic does pop puck into the net but after a short review, the waved-off goal is confirmed.
  • The fourth line continues to buzz, however, doing what they should do. Muck it up, work the boards, and get the puck in front for a scoring chance. Josh Currie misses on a one-timer and Gazdic steamrolls the net again but they can’t put the puck in.
  • Kale Kessy goes in on a 2-on-1 and elects to shoot rather than try a feed to Joey LaLeggia. It’s the right idea but the shot is easily snared by Desrosiers.

1-0 CONDORS – With Matthew Ford in the box for high-sticking, Condors defenceman Jordan Oesterle deftly picks off a pass and banks the puck up the wall. Rob Klinkhammer gets it between the circles in the Texas zone, takes a couple of strides, and puts a close-in wrist shot behind Desrosiers. It’s Klinkhammer’s third shorthanded with the Condors and the team’s eighth of the season. G: Klinkhammer (9) A: Oesterle 7:25 (SH)

  • The Condors come close to going up to as Ford sits on the puck at the blue line and hits a streaking Kyle Platzer but there’s not much on the shot and it is easily handled.
  • Ford heads back to the penalty box. The veteran has made a habit out of taking some undisciplined and offensive zone penalties this season (for higher-priced examples, see Benoit Pouliot). 

1-1 – Laurikainen covers well during a scramble but moments later he’s tested from the faceoff circle on a none-too-dangerous-looking shot from Matej Stransky. The Finnish keeper boots it – off the inside of his pad and over line. GOAL: Stransky (12) ASSISTS: Ranford, Johns 14:18 (PP)

  • LaLeggia is back on defence, but that hasn’t kept him harnessed. His vision is on the money with a long cross-ice pass to Kessy. Fantastic feed. Nothing on the finish.

SECOND PERIOD


  • Jujhar Khaira tries a backhand wraparound and is thwarted but goes back it and tries a backhand from the slot is stopped.
  • Gemel Smith breaks in for Texas, testing Laurikainen from the circle but he is shut down by the Finn.
  • Andrew Miller and Condors captain Ryan Hamilton go down on a 2-on-1. Miller awkwardly elects to hold it and then his pass is ultimately broken up. Wasted chance.
  • Gazdic goes to the box for a slash. The best chance for the Stars come early in the PP as they work the puck around low and try to ram it in but no go.
  • Freed from the box, Gazdic deflects a point shot wide. Same shift, LaLeggia comes down the wall, pivots, and puts the puck onto Gazdic’s stick for a redirect. It is stopped and Kessy misses the rebound but the pressure results in a delay of game penalty on Texas.
  • The Condors get five shots on the PP but the only quality chance comes when the puck is worked around and eventually gest to Oesterle at the point. His shot is handled by the netminder.
  • Texas tries for a shorthanded goal of its own as Brendan Ranford breaks in and puts a pass right onto the tape of Derek Hulak. Laurikainen manages his best stop so far on the night with the rare two-pad stack.

2-1 STARS – Bakersfield goes shorthanded again as Josh Currie goes off. Twenty seconds into the PP, Jason Dickinson aims a shot from well out that takes some sort of redirection off Khaira’s stick and beats Laurikainen. GOAL: Dickinson (17) ASSISTS: Honka, Backman 11:59 (PP)

  • The penalty parade continues as the Condors get another man-advantage. The best chance comes as Tyler Pitlick has some room just off the crease but Desrosiers makes himself big and leaves little to shot at.
  • Texas gets another shorthanded try when Cory Kane catches forward-playing-defence Josh Winquist flat-footed. Laurikainen has no problem with the shot.
  • Anton Slepyshev chases after a puck alongside Kyle Platzer into the Stars zone. The Russian hits the boards hard and goes to the Condors bench clutching his shoulder. He’s already missed a month with a shoulder injury.
  • Another penalty – this time a mysterious “Where did that call come from?” moment that puts Khaira in the box. The only chance for the Stars is a jam play that Laurikainen fights off.
  • Condors defenceman Brad Hunt steps up at centre to put the shoulder into Ranford.

THIRD PERIOD


  • Khaira near makes a successful coast-to-coast effort but his shot is stopped. Right after that, Ranford takes a penalty and the Condors get another power-play opportunity.
  • The best two shots on the Bakersfield PP come from Brad Hunt. The first bullet bangs hard off the post and the second blast is stopped by Desrosiers. 

3-1 STARS – Texas breaks in 3-on-2. Brett Ritchie is rubbed out along the boards yet drops the puck for Remi Elie who moves in a puts a hot wrister behind Laurikainen. GOAL: Elie (6) ASSISTS: Ritchie, Ully 7:58

  • It’s a lot of dump-and-chase, hack-it-and-whack-it the rest of the period. The Stars go five minutes without a shot. The Condors aren’t much better.
  • The Condors are in flight 3-on-2 and Ford lets a shot go from the slot. It goes off Desrosiers but Pitlick can’t take a swipe at the rebound.

3-2 – With the net empty, the Condors start to swarm. Klinkhammer gets a good look and guns a shot at the net from inside the faceoff circle. This time around, Pitlick is money on the rebound. GOAL: Pitlick (4) ASSISTS: Klinkhammer, Oesterle 19:14

4-2 – Texas is called for icing twice – the second time with 13.8 to go. However, the Condors muck it up off the draw, allowing Curtis Mackenzie to grab it and put the game away with a long bomb. GOAL: Mackenzie (13) 19:54 (EN)

THREE STARS

  1. Jason Dickinson – Texas
  2. Philippe Desrosiers – Texas
  3. Rob Klinkhammer – Bakersfield

Attendance: 4,221

In the nest

  • When Nikita Nikitin was around a week back, the Condors were rotating out a blue liner every game. With Nikitin now in Edmonton, the Condors are going with a set six and Martin Gernat as the spare part. The other scratches on Saturday were Mitch Moroz (injured), Marco Roy, and Phil McRae
  • The Condors released Kellen Jones from his PTO earlier in the week
  • The Oilers’ Double-A affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals picked up a 5-4 shootout win over the Florida Everblades Saturday night. Greg Chase scored in regulation, while Jonathan Lessard scored twice and added the shootout winner
  • Weird turn of events for Norfolk defenceman Gabriel Verpaelst. He spent last season with the ECHL Condors and on Friday was given a PTO by the AHL’s Stockton Heat
  • The Condors host San Antonio on Tuesday but the Rampage won’t have former Edmonton Oil King Cody Corbett in the lineup as he was sent down to ECHL Fort Wayne on Friday.