When Josh Currie scored a dramatic goal 13 minutes into double overtime game at Rabobank Arena last Saturday night, hopes ran high that it would help propel the Condors to a Game 7 on Wednesday night on their home ice.
But the San Diego Gulls ended Bakersfield’s season on Monday night in Game 6 of the AHL Pacific Division Finals.
So on Wednesday, instead of going through a morning skate for what would have been the biggest game of the season, Condors players were going through exit interviews and packing their bags to head back home.
As they did so, crews were removing the ice from an arena floor. It was not a pretty sight for the players.
“I mean, it’s brutal,” Condors captain Keegan Lowe said. “This is the worst day of the year, every year. This year stings a little bit more because of the obvious and the group we had, the guys we had in the room and the friendships we built.”
It was a season where the Condors won 17 straight games and the regular season Pacific Division championship. The playoff run came up shorter than anyone wanted, but the general theme during exit interviews with media was how close knit the team was, which made it a really special season.
“That was our goal at the start of the year, we were making the playoffs and anything short of that would have been unacceptable,” said Jones. “It was a special group of guys in there, coaching staff, trainers and everyone. It is a group I’m never going to forget.”
Rookie All Star Center Cooper Marody did not play in the San Diego series due injury, which left him viewing the home games from a fan’s perspective.
“It was funny watching Game 5,” he said. “I was 10 times more nervous than I’ve ever been playing in a game myself. The double overtime, my heart was pounding the whole game. I was so pumped when Currie scored that goal.”
First year head coach Jay Woodcroft said he was not the only teacher.
“They taught me what a true team looks like: That’s a group of individuals that are willing to put the group ahead of themselves,” he said of his players. “While we’re disappointed with not going further in the playoffs and reaching our ultimate goal, I think there’s a lot to be proud of here this year.”
As for the memories he will take away from the season season, Jones said they mostly revolve around the team, not wins, losses or streaks.
“I’m going to think about the guys in that locker room, my teammates,” he said. “ The guys we went to war with every night, the coaching staff and trainers. Everyone in this whole organization.
“I think when I look back at this season years down the road I’m going to remember the guys in the room, not so much maybe the winning streak and things like that, but just the guys I got to share some of those moments with. It will definitely be the guys I remember.”