Olivier Rodrigue was full of confidence ahead of Friday night's contest versus the Tucson Roadrunners. After recently taking over from Jack Campbell as the Condor's number one netminder, he had been tremendous on Wednesday night, in a 4-2 win over the Calgary Wranglers.
The promotion was thoroughly deserved, with Rodrigue entering Friday night's game with the best save percentage among all AHL goalies with at least seven appearances this season. The hope was he could help get the Condors' season back on track, after seeing a promising start evaporate since Campbell had been assigned to the team from the Oilers.
So of course, Rodrigue couldn't have picked a worse time to have his poorest statistical performance of the 2023-24 campaign. Against the Roadrunners he had his worst save percentage of the season at .871 percent as he allowed four goals, including the game-winner just 38 seconds into overtime.
Recent history counts for nothing
Another reason for confidence ahead of the game, was that the Condors had won the previous four times they'd faced the roadrunners. However, this was a game where the hosts were battling from behind all night, at no point having the lead.
The Condors had entered the night with a 8-1-1 record in games this season when they scored at least three goals. Of course Friday night's 4-3 loss now sees this record drop to 8-2-1.
The Condors do deserve credit for tying the game up three times after falling behind, with them outshooting the visitors 33-31. They also did well relatively speaking on the penalty kill, with the Roadrunners going just 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
However, this doesn't change the reality that the four goals allowed were just too much to overcome. Rodrigue arguably couldn't have done much on the first goal, while the second one came after he saved a shot and the Roadrunners scored on the rebound.
The third goal was definitely on the 2018 second round draft pick though. Yes the turnover in the leadup to the goal isn't on him, but he somehow let the subsequent shot get through him to make it 3-2 to the Roadrunners.
Closing in on history
The Condors would tie up the game for the third and final time at the 7:39 mark of the third period, courtesy of Raphael Lavoie's ninth AHL goal of the season. The goal was also notable for Seth Griffith's primary assist, which now puts him within six points of the all-time Condors mark of 188 AHL points.
As already mentioned though, the end came swiftly in overtime on a power play, with Josh Doan finishing off the pass from Dylan Guenther, who was given far too much time and space with the puck. It was almost as if Rodrigue and his teammates were too focused on Guenther, to see that Doan was standing all alone at the far post.
Postgame, Condors coach Colin Chaulk felt like the game was one which got away from the team. Speaking to the media about the defensive effort, he said:
"The goals that were scored against us, we gave them for free. Those are goals that normally our team does a really good job defending, so I think we (gave) two for free there. ... A late penalty (in the third) on a net drive -- and it was a penalty -- we've got to keep skating and finish on the inside there. It was very similar to their first goal, and we've got to learn from that."
With the loss, the Condors drop to 9-10-2 on the season and remain at the bottom of the Pacific Division. At least they don't have to wait long to try and bounce back, as they face the Firebirds in the desert on Saturday night.