Olivier Rodrigue bounces back as Condors beat Firebirds in OT

The Condors get back to .500 on the season, as Seth Griffith scores in overtime to secure a 2-1 win for the Condors on the road against the Firebirds.
John Hayden, 15, of the Coachella Valley Firebirds looks for an opening against the Bakersfield
John Hayden, 15, of the Coachella Valley Firebirds looks for an opening against the Bakersfield / Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

Friday night had been a tough one for Olivier Rodrigue in the Bakersfield Condors net. While he wasn't terrible per se, he had his worst statistical outing of the season to date.

The result was a season-low .871 save percentage, as the Condors lost 4-3 in overtime at home to the Tucson Roadrunners. However, having replaced Jack Campbell as the starting goalie, he was right back in action on Saturday night.

It was anticipated to be another tough contest, on the road to a team which went all the way to Game Seven of the Calder Cup Finals last season. In the end however, the Condors were able to triumph 2-1 in overtime and Rodrigue more than played his part in the win.

A worthy rebound performance

The 23-year-old couldn't have responded any better in the desert, going from his worst save percentage of the season to his best. In the end he stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced for a .974 save percentage, although somewhat surprisingly, he wasn't named as one of the game's Three Stars.

Now you can make the argument the one goal Rodrigue did allow, he should have done better with. In his defence though, his teammates also could have done more, allowing Cameron Hughes to score despite being outnumbered, to tie the game at 1-1 after a mad scramble around the Condors' goal area.

The Firebirds' goal came just 14 seconds after the Condors had taken the lead 1:05 into the second period. Alex Peters scored his first AHL goal of the season, which admittedly came pretty much against the run of play.

Rodrigue solid as a rock

In this respect, the home side had come out firing in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Condors 16-5. However, the Firebirds just couldn't get past Rodrigue.

The game was more even in the second period, with the two aforementioned goals and the Firebirds holding a smaller 10-8 advantage in shots on target. However, the host were just not destined to score again.

The Firebirds again turned up the intensity in the third period, doubling up the Condors 12-6 in shot attempts. Helping make Rodrigue's and his team's effort even more impressive on the night, the hosts went 0-for-4 on the power play.

Overtime and done

With the game tied at 0-0, the game went to overtime. However, it only took 32 seconds for the contest to be decided.

Philip Broberg set up Seth Griffith perfectly with a defence-splitting pass, leaving the latter all alone in front of the Firebirds goal to calmly finish for the 2-1 win. Of note, Griffith is now just five points away from tying the Condors records for most AHL points by a player.

Overall, it is unfortunately an indictment on Campbell, that the Condors seem so much more stable with Rodrigue between the pipes. In addition, a victory such as the one on Saturday night, could be just what's needed to get the season back on track.

Oilers in appropriate place for Christmas power rankings. Oilers in appropriate place for Christmas power rankings. dark. Next

With the win, the Condors move up to ninth in the Pacific Division and keep in mind they have at least three games in hand on everyone above them in the standings. They now have three days off over the Christmas period, before return to action at home on Wednesday night versus the Henderson Silver Knights.