Raphael Lavoie scores game-winner as Condors beat Gulls 3-2

Raphael Lavoie sets a new personal career-high with his 26th AHL goal of the season, to lead the Condors to an important victory in San Diego.

Nov 4, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Raphael Lavoie (62) skates against the
Nov 4, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Raphael Lavoie (62) skates against the / Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Bakersfield Condors travelled to San Diego to play the Gulls in early March, they were on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline. It represented a low point, with them falling to 0-3-0 for the month.

Since then however, the Condors have recovered with a record of 8-3-0. This included a different outcome on Wednesday night in their return to San Diego, as they secured an important 3-2 win.

It was a pivotal game for Olivier Rodrigue, who allowed four goals in that 5-3 loss to the Gulls earlier this month. This time around however, he saved 21 of the 23 shots he faced, to secure his team-best 17th win of the season among Condors goalies.

It is vital that Rodrigue steps up, with Jack Campbell out injured and still no update on how long his absence will be. It helps that the former is having the best statistical season of his career, with the aforementioned 17 wins, a 2.67 Goals Against Average and .917 save percentage.

Lavoie is the man

On the subject of best statistical season, this is similarly the case for Raphael Lavoie. He scored what turned out to be the game-winner at the 15:03 mark of the second period, with his career-best 26th goal of the AHL season.

The goal was set up beautifully on a power play, by Philip Broberg and Lane Pederson. The latter laid up the puck perfectly for Lavoie, who fired home with the first-timer from the left circle.

Lavoie deservedly took home the game's First Star, with his 26th goal also leading the Condors on the season. He is now just two points behind his career high of 45 from last season and still has plenty of time to both equal and surpass this total.

The game had actually started out badly for Lavoie and the Condors, as they fell behind to the Gulls just 2:11 into the contest. Robert Hagg's shot from range arguably shouldn't have found the back of the net, but in fairness to Rodrigue he was screened by at least one of three teammates.

Two quick goals for the Condors

It took a while for the Condors to get going, but once they did the Gulls were caught in a daze. The visitors scored twice in the space of just 59 seconds, to end the opening period with a 2-1 advantage.

First, Cameron Wright continued his fine rookie campaign with a majestic goal at the 14:49 mark, He picked up a pass from Ben Gleason, then navigated his way through the Gulls defence to shot home and tie the game at 1-1 with his 11th AHL goal of the season.

Then less than minute later the Condors took their first lead of the game, through Greg McKegg. That man Lavoie was again involved, as he similarly went on a mazy run through the Gulls defence, had his shot saved, but McKegg was on hand to fire home the rebound.

Shots were at a premium for the Gulls in the second period, with them only managing six. However, they did still manage to tie up the game again, at the 12:22 mark.

Rodrigue shuts up shop

In fairness to the hosts it was an excellent goal too, as they dissected the Condors for Sasha Pastujov to shoot home and make it 2-2. However, they would not score again on the night, as the stage was set for Lavoie to claim his game-winner.

With the victory, the Condors are now 31-5-1 on the season when scoring at least three goals. They also improve to 23-1-1, when they are leading after two periods.

The Condors also stopped the Gulls on three power play opportunities on the night, and have now killed 35 of the past 36 power plays they've faced. Individually speaking, McKegg achieved the Gordie Howe hat-trick, with his goal, a secondary assist on Wright's goal, and a fighting major.

Next. 3 Oilers who won't be back next season. 3 Oilers who won't be back next season. dark

With the victory the Condors are now 35-23-4 on the season, they remain in fifth place in the Pacific Division with 10 games left, but are also within three points of second place. Next up they travel to Henderson, to play the Silver Knights on Friday night.

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