There's just no stopping the Condors at the moment, as they beat the Barracuda 3-2 at home on Saturday night and made it 16 points out of a possible 18. The game was also notable for a second consecutive solid performance from Jack Campbell, with both coming against the divisional rivals from San Jose.
Campbell was helped out by the Condors flying out of the gates in the opening 20 minutes, taking the lead through Alex Peters at the 5:44 mark. The home side then doubled their advantage on the power play through Raphael Lavoie's team-leading 11th goal of the season, to make it 2-0 at the end of the first period.
The Condors seemed to all but put the game out of reach in the second, as Ben Gleason made it 3-0 with just over two minutes remaining in the period. It was Gleason's seventh goal of the season, and his fifth in his previous four games.
Smooth sailing till the third period
Campbell was looking good in goal, saving all 20 shots he faced during the opening 40 minutes. However, things became a little more interesting during the final period for the 5,196 in attendance at Mechanics Bank Arena.
Kyle Rau scored his first goal of the AHL season just 98 seconds into the third on the power play, to pull the Barracuda to within 3-1. In fairness to Campbell, the goal was not his fault; it was just a case of perfect execution from the visitors.
It was a different matter on the Barracuda's second goal, as Leon Gawanke scored from long range with a shot Campbell should have done better to stop. Regardless, it was now 3-2 to the Condors with still 6:32 remaining.
Fortunately for everyone concerned, the Condors were able to hold on the rest of the way to secure an important 3-2 victory. For his part, Campbell deserves credit for stopping 34 of 36 shots in one of his best outings since being assigned to Bakersfield.
Crowded schedule coming up
The back-to-back versus the Barracuda represented the beginning of a stretch which sees the Condors playing a league-high 46 games in just 100 days. Coach Colin Chaulk was asked about this postgame and he said:
"We all understand the schedule. It's no easy task coming up here, but what I see in our locker room is a team. I see players on different contracts and different ages and all kinds of stuff, and we've got a battle coming up here. ... What I see in that room is guys that genuinely care about each other. As a player that's what you miss the most when you coach and you don't get to put the gear on. I think those guys are going to be real proud of what they have grown and what they have coming, so (I'm) glad that we're in there together."
Including also beating the Barracuda on Friday night, the Condors are now 25-14-1 in their previous 40 games against them. They also improve to 13-1-3 on the season in games where they score at least three goals.
The game was notable for the Condors wearing special jerseys to represent Fighting Cancer Night. Afterwards, five jerseys were auctioned off for over $17,000 to benefit five local pediatric cancer patients, so a big thank you is in order to everyone who contributed.
With the win the Condors improve to 15-10-3 and remain in eight position in the Pacific Division, but with at least five games in hand on everyone above them. Next up they travel to Colorado, to play the Eagles on Tuesday night.