January ended poorly for the Bakersfield Condors, as they lost three of their final four games of the month. February on the other hand has gotten off to a promising start, with three consecutive wins.
The latest win on Friday night saw the Condors manage to claim the two points, despite being severely outplayed by the San Jose Barracuda. The game winner came 1:31 into overtime, courtesy of Raphael Lavoie's second goal of the night.
That the Condors were able to win was nothing short of a miracle, given that they were outshot 42-19 by the Barracuda. This included a barely believable 36-9 shots on goal advantage for the visitors during the second and third periods combined.
Despite this outrageous disparity in shots, the Barracuda were only able to score once in their 36 attempts. This was mainly due to the outstanding form of Olivier Rodrigue in net for the Condors, with him ultimately taken home the much deserved First Star of the Game.
Competitive early on
The contest had actually started out pretty even, with the Condors even outshooting the Barracuda 8-6 in the opening 20 minutes. The hosts took a 1-0 lead inside six minutes on the power play, with Lavoie's first goal of the game.
However, the Barracuda managed to tie things up 1-1 at the 11:10 mark through Oskar Lindblom. The goal was scored from a tough angle and Rodrigue arguably could have done more to stop it, but we're not going to be too critical of him given his overall play on the night.
The second 20 minutes proved to be the most dominant period of the game for the Barracuda, as they rained shots at the Condors goal. However, despite a 19-5 advantage, they just couldn't get past Rodrigue.
Instead, it was the hosts who somehow took their second lead of the night, this time through Adam Erne. The Barracuda goalie Georgi Romanov did well to stop the initial shot, before Erne fired home the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
All Barracuda in the third period
The third period saw more of the Barracuda dominating, but with five minutes remaining, it looked like the Condors were going to hold on. Then, the visitors got an admittedly much deserved breakthrough.
Nathan Todd fired a shot from long-range, which was tipped in by Artem Guryev past a helpless Rodrigue. As a result the game went to the extra period, with everything to play for.
Fortunately for the 5,036 in attendance at Mechanics Bank Arena, the Condors woke up and actually controlled overtime; at least what there was of it. They tore through the Barracuda on the power play, with Lane Pederson setting up Lavoie to fire home and clinch the 3-2 win.
Lavoie now has 15 goals on the season for the Condors, including a team-leading nine on the power play. Pederson had two assists on the night and is now second on the team with 30 overall points, two behind Seth Griffith who notched a helper of his own.
Postgame, Condors coach Colin Chaulk discussed the play of Rodrigue, who stopped 40 of 42 shots, while also acknowledging his team was second-best on the night. Speaking to the media, he said:
"He was in control of the game. He was definitely the first star on both sides and we were lucky to have him tonight. ... (The Barracuda) were the better team, but as you know good teams find a way to win games. We're thankful that the power play was 2-for-4 and our goaltender was really good."
The Condors are now 4-1-1 on the season versus the Barracuda, and 14-3-3 overall in their past 20 games. They are also now 21-3-2 this season when holding at least a share of the lead after 40 minutes.
The Condors improve to 22-13-4 on the season and remain in seventh place in the Pacific Division, albeit with the fourth-best points percentage in the Western Conference. They will face the Barracuda again on Saturday night, this time in San Jose.