The heck with climbing the mountain. The Condors are having a devil of time just trying to reach the plateau.
For the eighth time in 16 games the Condors had an opportunity to reach .500. For the eighth time, they failed.
The Condors took an early 2-0 lead over the Ontario Reign on Wednesday night at Rabobank Arena, but the Reign scored three unanswered goals for a 3-2 victory.
And thus, the Condors (11-13-4-0) remain mired in the basement of the AHL Pacific Division.
“This is a frustrating loss,” Condors coach Gerry Fleming said. “I’m not going to question the effort or the work ethic. That hasn’t been an issue. It’s just our lack of finish, our turning the puck over at times and getting timely saves.”
The game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period. Ontario’s Michael Mersch scored the game winner just 1:10 into the period when he redirected a point shot past Nick Ellis.
The Condors established their forecheck early and their aggressive play led to a 2-0 lead before the game was six minutes old.
The forecheck forced an errant Ontario pass three minutes into the game and Brad Malone corralled the loose puck, spun and fired a wrister from the right circle past Campbell for a 1-0 lead.
A high-sticking penalty two minutes later led to a Bakersfield power play and a 2-0 lead at 5:33 after the Condors won a battle for the puck in the corner and Ryan Hamilton finished up with his fourth goal.
Campbell made a point-blank save on Grayson Downing with nine minutes left to keep it a two-goal game and Ty Rattie missed the net on a clear breakaway with 5:35 left.
“In the first period we had a chance to make it 4-nothing,” Fleming noted. “We missed a back-door tap in, we miss a breakaway, miss the net.
“There was a little push back (from Ontario) in the second period, but we had the same scoring chances in the second period. They had three, we had two.”
Yet, Ontario managed to scored two goals.
Mike Amadio cut Bakersfield’s lead to 2-1 at 5:45 when he fired a bouncing puck past Ellis from low in the right circle.
The Condors had a chance to clear the puck late in the period, did not and it ended up on the stick of Matt Moulson, who scored from the high slot with 2:07 left to make it 2-2.
“That first goal goes through (Ellis),” Fleming said. “He has to make that save. At the end of the day he has to make that save.
“We match up fine against anybody in our division. That’s not a question. It’s about getting timely saves and about getting big goals and your special team battle, about eliminating your mistakes. … If you don’t you find yourself like we are, spinning our tires.”