Condors falling apart at the worse possible time of the season

The Bakersfield Condors fall to 0-3-0 in March as their defensive game once again lets them down, in a 5-3 loss to the Gulls in San Diego.

Bakersfield goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (33) skates away from the net to stay loose during a break
Bakersfield goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (33) skates away from the net to stay loose during a break / Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

For most of the season, having games in hand on the majority of the Western Conference seemed to be to the Condors' advantage, especially combined with their overall winning efficiency. However, as we reach the business end of the season, it's all starting to unravel.

The Condors continued their losing start to March, with a 5-3 defeat on Monday night in San Diego versus the Gulls. As a result they have begun the month 0-3-0 and the alarm bells are starting to ring, especially surrounding their defensive game.

Combined with a losing weekend at home, the Condors have now allowed 13 goals in their last three games. The lustre is becoming to come off Olivier Rodrigue's play, not that Jack Campbell has been much better.

Early deficit

The Condors were pretty much playing from behind for the majority of the night, as they fell behind 1-0 after just 4:27 of action. Tyson Hinds fired from range and Ben King tipped home his 11th goal of the season, past a helpless Rodrigue.

The Gulls doubled their advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the first period, on a power play. This time it was Glenn Gadwick who scored, as his 17th goal of the 2023-24 AHL season made it 2-0 to the hosts.

The Condors seemed to give themselves a chance just a minute later, to halve the lead. Raphael Lavoie did all the work himself as he took the puck from just inside his own half, before calmly firing home for his team-leading 21st goal of the campaign.

Unfortunately for the Condors, any hope of making it to the end of the opening period trailing just 2-1, was wiped out with only 27 seconds remaining. There was no way Trevor Carrick should have scored from such an acute angle, but Rodrigue let the puck trickle past him and it was 3-1 after 20 minutes.

A better second period

In fairness to the Condors, they fought hard to get back into the game during the middle period, as they outshot the hosts 13-9. They also scored twice, to tie things up at 3-3.

First, Ty Tullio set up Drake Caggiula perfectly, for him to pull the visitors back to within one goal at the 5:45 mark. Then, with literally one second remaining in the second, Lane Pederson assisted as Seth Griffith fired home from range on the power play, for his team-high 42nd point of the season.

The final period saw the Condors unable to generate much offence, as they were outshot 12-3. It would eventually prove to be their downfall.

First, the Gulls scored what turned out to be the winning goal, with just over six minutes remaining in the contest. It was a wonderful solo effort from Ben King, as he rounded the back of the net and shot home past a wrong-footed Rodrigue.

This forced the Condors to bring on an extra attacker, as they attempted to once more tie up the game. Instead, the Gulls scored an empty-netter through Josh Lopina with a little over a minute remaining, to make the final score of 5-3.

Tough night at the office

It was undoubtedly a rough night for Rodrigue, who saved 29 of 33 shots and remains one win short of matching his career-high 14 victories from last season. He is just 2-3-0 in his past five starts, allowing a combined 18 goals in the process.

The Condors fell to 15-10-0 on their travels this season, after the first of what will be 10 road games this month. They also dropped to 23-4-1 this season, in games where they scored at least three goals.

Next. Calvin Pickard makes his case to remain as Oilers backup goalie. Calvin Pickard makes his case to remain as Oilers backup goalie. dark

With the loss, the Condors go to 27-20-4 on the season and remain in seventh place in the Pacific Division. They'll be on the road again on Wednesday night, with a matchup versus a Henderson Silver Knights team one place and six points behind them in the standings.

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