Developing Bakersfield Condors continuing to find their way in huge 5-1 win over Calgary Wranglers
By Zach Laing9 months ago
CALGARY — For the Bakersfield Condors, it’s been a season of highs and lows.
They started the year off slow, losing four of their first six games, before going on a five-game winning streak. As November continued on they saw a stretch of 10 games into mid-December where they dropped nine out of 10.
Since then? This young group of players are finding their way extending a three game winning streak to four games Thursday night in southern Alberta. It was a key victory dropping a Pacific Divison leading Calgary Wranglers by score of 5-1 marking their first win in their last nine meetings against them.
“I felt like our second period we got a little away from our game. We didn’t move pucks forward, played a little bit on the outside,” said Condors head coach Colin Chaulk after the game. “We got some good saves from our goaltender (Calvin Pickard) and our PK really stepped up to get us a goal that gave us some life.
“The message was pretty clear to our group in the (second) intermission: the plan was what it was to not play their style, but to win the game. They executed it perfectly in the third period, and we had some bounced too and we earned them.”
It was a slow start to the game with a deep Wranglers club pacing the Condors through the second period outshooting them 26-13. Calgary captain Brett Sutter had opened the scoring 10:06 into the second frame, but it was Condors vet Justin Bailey who scored a beauty shorthanded with a hair over two minutes left in the frame.
Come the third period, it was all gas no brakes for the Condors.
Raphael Lavoie, who has seemingly been shot out of a cannon to start the second half of the season scoring 20 points in his last 18 games, scored in tight on the backhand 2:20 into the period. Another vet in Greg McKegg found twine five minutes later as the Condors continued to pour it on. Justin Bailey’s second no-look goal and a Noah Philp empty-netter sealed the deal.
“I think for our group right now, especially in the last I would say seven-to-ten games, it’s more of a feeling,” said Chaulk. “It’s a feeling of belief and there’s a feeling that we can be a good team. There’s a feeling we can win games, and that’s not something that’s x’s and o’s. It’s something, like I said, that coaches feel.”
Injuries to Edmonton Oilers players have forced call-ups, and other pieces of adversity have slowed the roll for the Condors this season. As of late, it’s been young players like Lavoie, Noah Philp, Xavier Bourgault, Tyler Tulio et al that have helped to lead the charge.
“It’s a belief system, it’s our young kids moving up, it’s our veteran players doing what their resumes are supposed to do, and it’s also all of us sticking together,” Chaulk added. “It was good to see them pull out the win today.”
In the stands of the Saddledome were key members of the Oilers organization. GM Ken Holland and head coach Jay Woodcroft sat high above the ice in the press boxes keeping a close eye on those a hundred feet below.
The Condors will finish off a two-game set against the Wranglers Friday night ahead of the AHL’s All-Star Break.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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