Two dramatic goals lifted the Condors to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Utah Grizzlies on Tuesday night at Rabobank Arena.
Greg Miller tied the game with less than five minutes left in regulation, and captain Joel Broda won it with his first goal of the series 7:39 into overtime when he beat Aaron Dell with a backhander from the low slot.
The victory gives the Condors a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven playoff series with Games 4 and 5 on Thursday and Friday nights at Rabobank.
"Kind of a broken play," Broda said. "The puck ended up behind their center and (Ryan Watson) made a great play, beat their defenseman to the inside and took the puck to the net. I think their goalie might have poke-checked it or something, I'm not sure, but I was right behind him and seen that loose puck in the slot.
"I tried to get as much wood on it as I could, and saw it trickling over the goal line there. It was a pretty special moment."
The Condors led early, then rallied twice from one-goal deficits to get the win.
"Playoff hockey," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "There were some momentum swings throughout the game We talked about that as one of the keys. Part of the gig here in playoff hockey."
Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Condors turned up the heat over the final eight minutes and tied the game on an unlikely goal with 4:30 left.
Greg Miller got control of the puck behind the Utah goal and, with the puck on his backhand, somehow stuffed it past Dell from behind the goal line. It appeared the puck somehow got over Dell's skate and squeaked through his pads and the post.
"We got that boost of energy," Mann said of the last half of the third period. "I thought Miller's line had a really good shift with about nine minutes left and I thought the other lines followed up. I thought we really took it to them in the last 10 minutes of the third.
"We just got a fortunate break on that third one."
Laurent Brossoit stopped 31 shots to get the win for the Condors while Dell stopped 34 in the loss.
Trailing 2-1 entering the second, it took the Condors just 90 seconds to tie the game as defenseman Joe Marciano beat Dell with a slap shot from the right point.
The Condors went on a power play at 2:22, but failed to generate a shot, killed a Utah power play and then got another opportunity on the man advantage midway through the period.
Once again, the Condors came up empty and the momentum changed.
The Grizzlies started swarming the Bakersfield zone and Brossoit made a huge save with 5:20 while sitting on his posterior, a couple of seconds after making a kick save with his left pad.
Utah kept pressing and, after a turnover in the neutral zone, Charles Sarault let loose with a quick wrister right after crossing the blue line to put Utah up 3-2.
"It was nice to get that goal early in the second," Mann said. "But the second period wasn't our best. We defended too much."
Bakersfield opened the scoring 8:38 into the game when defenseman Collin Bowman beat Dell with off a shot from the top of the right circle.
Utah scored on its first power-play of the game when defenseman Martin Lee shot, got the puck back on a long rebound, and beat Brossoit at 14:05 with his second shot.
Bakersfield's power-play woes were magnified as, for the second straight game, Utah scored right after Bakersfield failed to score with the man advantage.
This time, three Condor players went toward a lone Utah player along the half-wall as he entered Bakersfield's zone. That left Jamie MacQueen alone in the slot for a pass and he scored from the low slot to give Utah a 2-1 lead.
Condors center Matt Thurber was released from a Salt Lake City hospital on Tuesday, after being airlifted there Friday due to complications from the flu. Thurber wrote on Instagram that he vomited six pints of blood and that he had no recollection of having a ventilator down his throat to breathe. He is leaving Utah today to recuperate at his home in Omaha.
Andrew Carroll had an assist on Bakersfield's first goal and has points in all three playoff games.