The Condors are headed for a team building activity in a couple of days.
Hopefully that goes better than things did on the ice at Rabobank Arena on Saturday night as they fell 4-0 to the Tucson Roadrunners before 5,708.
Where did the Condors go wrong?
Well, for the third straight game they started in a hole, allowing the first goal and playing from behind.
And, though they had just three power-play opportunities, they were totally ineffective with the man advantage. Case in point, the first line was on for a full two minutes of a power play (last 1:30 of the second period and first 30 seconds of the third) and generated no shots.
As for the first line — Joey LaLeggia, Brad Malone and Jesse Puljujarvi — they combined for one shot on goal, that coming from Malone’s stick with 3:35 left in the second.
Some of the best chances for the Condors to score came in the second half of the first period when the fourth line was energized and repeatedly buzzed Tucson’s goal. Ryan Hamilton, who had five shots in the period, had a couple of good looks in the final four minutes but could not connect.
“We just have to get better,” Fleming said. “We haven’t found the chemistry yet. We’ll be working on it.”
The Roadrunners did not look all that great either, but certainly the bounces went their way.
Such as Mike Sislo’s goal 47 seconds into the second. “The first goal is going wide, hits off (Caleb) Jones’ stick and ends up going in the net,” Fleming said.
Or Ryan MacInnis’ power-play goal at 5:47 of the second. “We have it on our tape, clear, get a bad bounce and it ends up on their tape, wide open net and in the back.”
Then the one that drew Fleming’s ire. Condors goaltender Eddie Pasquale played the puck behind the net and right as he did, a Tucson player hit him skate-to-skate, sending Pasquale down.
No penalty was called and Nick Merkley fired the puck into a wide-open net 10:23 into the third. “The third one was a slew-foot. They don’t see it,” Fleming said.
Tucson finished the scoring on a goal by Tyler Gaudet less than a minute later. “The fourth one was a good shot.”
But that does not mean Fleming was pleased with the play of his team especially up front.
“The young D (four rookies) did a good job,” he said. “There’s deeper issues right now.”
The Condors arrived early and took an unusual route into Rabobank, walking down a red carpet in front of the arena with fans on either side starting at 4:30 p.m. Players signed variety of items, chatted and took selfies with fans before heading into the arena.
With defensemen Mark Fayen and Kegan Lowe suffering injuries on Thursday, the Condors had just three scratches for Saturday night, all forwards: Braden Christoffer, Grayson Downing and Evan Polei.