It took just 22 seconds late in the third period on Friday night at Rabobank Arena for the Condors to turn what appeared to be a victory into a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Wolves.
The Condors held a 3-2 lead when Joe Gambardelli was called for a hold while on a forecheck with less than six minutes to play.
Chicago tied the game with 4:58 left when Stefan Matteau banged in the puck. The puck went into the Bakersfield zone on the subsequent face off and the Condors lost possession just to the right of the net which led to a wide-open Paul Thompson sending a blast from the slot past Laurent Brossoit.
And just like that a point streak came to an end at six games as the Condors, instead of climbing three games above .500, fell back to just one game above.
“You don’t take a penalty like that with five or six minutes left in the third period up a goal,” Condors coach Gerry Fleming said. “Unnecessary. A silly penalty.
“(Then a) turnover behind the net. We talked about that between the first and second period because they had a couple of quality chances where LB had to make a save right from that specific area. We turn the puck over. They move it. Nice goal. Credit them.”
Certainly Chicago, which has points in 15 of its last 16 games, is playing well.
But Fleming was less than pleased with the effort from his team after the first period, despite a second-period power play goal by Ty Rattie that put the Condors up 3-2.
“We came out in the first period and did the things we had to do, established a good forecheck, got pucks in behind their D, pressured their D, got pucks to the net,” Fleming said. “Simplified our game.
“They took it to us in the second. We started turning pucks over, started getting too casual in our play, they beat us to loose pucks, they won all the puck battles. We got hemmed in our zone a few times just because we weren’t willing to compete like we have to compete for us to win. We can’t play casual. Ever.”
Rattie got the Condors going eight minutes into the first when he finished a long Bakersfield shift in the Chicago zone by firing in the puck from low in the left circle.
A span of a couple of minutes later in the period had Fleming fuming.
First, Josh Currie was called for interference at 11:14 after being hit from behind as he was about to enter the Chicago zone. Then, after blowing his whistle and ruling no goal on the subsequent Chicago power play, the ref looked at a video and determined the puck crossed the line. Teemu Pulkkinen had the goal and the game was tied 1-1 at 12.11.
Fleming said after the game the puck was pushed into the net by a glove, which is why he us upset.
The Condors quickly answered with Brayden Christoffer, who was a healthy scratch on Wednesday, firing in his fourth goal at 12:19 to put Bakersfield up 2-1
Chicago’s Vince Dunn redirected a shot from the point past Brossoit at 16:46 to tie the game 2-2.
The Condors wind up a three-game homestand tonight at 7 p.m. (970 AM) against Rockford. A party on the plaza takes place from 5-7 p.m. The first 2,000 kids 12 and under receive a free Condors toothbrush holder.
Eddie Pasquale served as the backup goaltender on Friday night with Nick Ellis not dressing. In a swap of veterans (the Condors have one too many) Ryan Stanton was in on defense and Eric Gryba sat.