Strong performance from Jack Campbell not enough to save Condors

The Bakersfield Condors failed to take advantage of Jack Campbell's fine game, as they lost 2-1 to the Wranglers on Tuesday night in Calgary.

Bakersfield forward Greg McKegg (14) talks with defenseman Cam Dineen (4) and other teammates during
Bakersfield forward Greg McKegg (14) talks with defenseman Cam Dineen (4) and other teammates during / Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

The Condors decided to go with the hot hand on Tuesday night, with Jack Campbell getting the start in net versus the Calgary Wranglers. The 2022 NHL All-Star entered the game with wins in four consecutive starts, and in six of his previous seven.

Theoretically helping the situation, was that the Wranglers had lost six of their previous 10 games overall. Now throw in the fact they had actually allowed more goals than they'd scored at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season, and the game seemed there for the taking by Colin Chaulk's men.

So of course the Condors went on to lost 2-1 on the night. The tight nature of the game actually played into one of the Wranglers' strengths this season, with them now 15-5-6 in one-goal games.

It is worth noting though that Chaulk's decision to start Campbell still proved sound, with him performing well on the night. He stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced, with him now having allowed two or less goals in seven of his previous eight starts.

Condors fall behind to a freak goal

The opening 20 minutes proved to be a tight affair, with chances at a premium. The Wranglers finally broke the deadlock with just over five minutes remaining in the period, and even then it only came courtesy of a penatly shot.

To make matters worse, the effort by Johnathan Aspirot was one of those flukey ones which might be scored once in every 100 shots. Aspirot's attempt was actually saved and the puck bounced up into the air, hit the crossbar and then on the way back down went in via Campbell's back, with him having no idea where it was.

Still, Campbell and the Condors didn't let the freak effort get them down as they went in search of the tying goal, which came just under 13 minutes into the second period. Adam Erne hit the Wranglers on the breakaway and calmly slotted home past Oscar Dansk with a fine solo effort.

Unfortunately for the Condors the 1-1 scoreline only lasted just over two minutes, as the Wranglers retook the lead through a power play. Mitch McLain controlled Sam Morton's pass extremely well in front of the Condors goal, before firing home past a helpless Campbell.

Power play lets Condors down

The final period would see the Condors forge forward in search of a second tying goal. Raphael Lavoie had arguably their best chance with just over five minutes remaining on a power play opportunity, but his fierce shot was well saved by Dansk.

On the subject of power plays, the Condors really only have themselves to blame for scoring just the one goal on the night. To not even convert one of seven man-advantage scenarios, is inexcusable.

As for the goal the visitors conceded on the Wranglers' power play, it ended an impressive sequence of 25 straight penalty kills. The win for the home side also gives them a 3-2 edge in the season series versus the Condors.

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With the loss, the Condors fall to 32-22-4 and you have to wonder if their chances at the number two spot (and seed) in the Pacific Division are slipping away. Regardless, they get an immediate chance at revenge versus the Wranglers as they play them in Calgary again on Wednesday night, with Oliver Rodrigue set to get the start between the pipes.

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