Condors undone in second period as they lose 5-2 to Wranglers

The Condors fall behind in their quest for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, due to a disappointing performance on Friday night.
Bakersfield goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (33) reaches out to try to pull in the puck safely during
Bakersfield goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (33) reaches out to try to pull in the puck safely during / Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

At a time of year when every game counts, the Bakersfield Condors let themselves down on Friday night. In a contest where they needed to give one of their best efforts of the season, they instead ended up on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline to the Calgary Wranglers.

As a result of the loss, the Condors fell down to the final playoff position in the Pacific Division. While they are only three points out of home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason, they have just six games remaining and have played two more than the fourth-placed Colorado Eagles.

The game actually couldn't have started much better for the Condors, as they took the lead just 4:16 into the first period. Raphael Lavoie provided a perfect cross ice pass from the right circle and Sam Gagner powered home for the 1-0 advantage.

The Wranglers tied the game up at the 14:30 mark of the opening 20 minutes, through Mitch McLain. He received the puck from William Strömgren, made a nice spin move in front of the Condors net and fired home past a helpless Olivier Rodrigue to make it 1-1.

Game over in the second period

The second period proved to be the Condors' undoing, as they allowed three goals without any response. The killer, was allowing the third goal with just 25 seconds remaining in the period, to make it 4-1 and effectively all but finish off the game.

If the Condors were to have any chance still, it came at the 10:54 mark on the power play, courtesy of Lane Pederson. He played a nice one-two with Seth Griffith, before powering home from the left circle to pull to within 4-2.

This was as close as the Condors would get though. The Wranglers finished the scoring off with an empty-netter from Brett Sutter, to make it 5-2 with 16 seconds remaining.

On the night, Rodrigue saved 25 of the 29 shots he faced, for his fourth loss in his past six starts. Along these lines, you have to wonder how fatigued he must be after starting the past eight games for the Condors during Jack Campbell's injury absence.

No beating around the bush

Postgame, Condors coach Colin Chaulk didn't sugarcoat what happened. Speaking to the media, he said: "They just outworked us, they outwilled us, they out-competed us. They were harder than us. You can use all the cliches. It just came down to puck battles, getting to the inside, and at this time of year it's not going to cut it."

One of the few bright spots for the Condors on the night, was going a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. As a result, they have now successfully killed 53 of the past 55 power play situations they have been faced with.

The loss saw the end of the Conors' five-game winning streak at home, and they are now 17-11-4 on the season at Mechanics Bank Arena. On an individual level, Pederson now leads the AHL with 28 power play points, including 11 goals and 17 assists.

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The Condors will get an immediate chance at revenge on Saturday night, with a home rematch versus the Wranglers. With Campbell back from injury, you'd like to think he will get the opportunity to start in net and give Rodrigue a break no matter how much his stamina has improved this season.

Regardless of who starts and what changes the Condors make for Saturday's rematch, you would hope they put in a better effort compared to Friday night. Chaulk said: "We'll look at the game first, but at the end of the day they were harder than us, our players know that and they have an opportunity to respond (Saturday)."

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