Bakersfield Condors start 2023-24 AHL season with 3-2 win over Coachella Valley

Photo credit:Bakersfield Condors
Cam Lewis
6 months ago
The Bakersfield Condors had a better start to their 2023-24 season than the big-league club did.
The American Hockey League affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers picked up a 3-2 win in their season opener on the road against the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Friday. Lane Pederson, James Hamblin, and Noel Hoefenmayer scored for the Condors while goaltender Calvin Pickard stopped 36 of 38 shots in the win.
The Condors opened the scoring in the first period thanks to an excellent individual effort from Pederson. He poke-checked the puck away from a Coachella Valley defender at the blueline and busted up ice on a breakaway before sniping a shot past Chris Dridger to make the score 1-0.
Bakersfield’s second goal came off of another great read by a Condor winger in the defensive zone. This time, Raphael Lavoie picked off a pass across the blueline from the Firebirds and powered through the other defender and to Coachella Valley’s net. Lavoie was stopped by Driedger but James Hamblin was on the doorstep to bury the rebound to make the score 2-0 for the Condors.
The Firebirds tied the game at 2-2 thanks to a pair of quick goals in the first half of the third period from Cale Fleury and Kole Lind. In the final couple minutes of the third frame, defenceman Noel Hoefenmayer put the Condors back on top with a one-timer from the point that wound up being the game-winner.
Pederson and Lavoie had strong games in this win for the Condors. Both players were in the mix for the last forward spot on the big-league club’s roster and they both played on Friday like they don’t want to be in the minors for long. Lavoie led the Condors with five shots on goal and Pederson was right behind him with four.
Lavoie played on the left wing alongside James Hamblin and Seth Griffith while Pederson centered Bakersfield’s top line with Drake Caggiula and Xavier Bourgault on his wings. The Condors will play their home opener next Saturday against the Ontario Reign.

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