For the second straight year, the Condors have come up short in their quest to make the American Hockey League playoffs.
The Stockton Heat beat the Condors 2-1 on Friday night in Stockton to secure the final spot in the Pacific Division.
The Condors, who needed to win in regulation to keep their playoff hopes alive, pulled goaltender NIck Ellis with just over a minute left and Stockton’s Ryan Lomberg scored the game-winner with 57 seconds remaining after the Condors turned the puck over.
The Condors wind up the season tonight at home against San Jose, the top seed in the division and the team Stockton will be facing in a first-round matchup beginning next week.
The Condors held a four-point lead on the Heat the morning of March 28 but the tide turned that night.
Stockton won on the road in Texas, the Condors lost at home to the Manitoba Moose and the teams have been on opposite paths since then. Stockton is 6-0-2 over its last eight games. The Condors have gone 2-6.
Friday night’s game wrapped up a disastrous five-game road trip (1-4) for the Condors, who fell behind in every game.
The Heat took a 1-0 lead 12:31 into the first when Oliver Kylington scored on a three-on-one break right after a Condors power play expired.
Defenseman Griffin Reinhart brought the Condors even midway through the second on a shot from the slot.
Stockton is the most penalized team in the league and the Condors had six power-play opportunities, including three alone in the third period, but came up empty.
Ellis, who made three huge saves in the third period to keep the game even, stopped 28 shots on the night.