Back on Nov. 29, the Arizona Coyotes picked up goaltender Calvin Pickard off waivers from Philadelphia.
He never played a game for the Coyotes so on Jan. 1 they sent him to Tucson for a conditioning stint with the AHL Roadrunners.
On Saturday night at Rabobank Arena, Pickard, who made 34 saves, was the difference as Tucson beat the Condors 2-1 in overtime.
Kyle Capoblanco finished a 2-on-1 rush by beating Shane Starrett from the slot 40 seconds into the extra frame for the game winner.
“I was extremely proud of our effort tonight, that looked like us,” said Condors coach Jay Woodcroft, who was not pleased after a 5-4 loss to Colorado on Friday night. “That looked like our template of how we want to play the game. The level of work ethic and compete was through the roof from every single player on the ice.”
Bakersfield outshot Tucson 35-26 and spent a good deal of time in Tucson’s zone.
While Starrett was solid in net for the Condors, the difference in the game was Pickard.
Pickard, the younger brother of former Condors goaltender Chett, gave up five goals in Stockton on Friday night in his first game (Tucson won 7-5) but he was on his game early on Saturday night. He made several big saves in the first period alone as the Condors peppered him with shots from all angles.
“We fired a ton of shots and had numerous grade-A scoring chances,” Woodcroft said. “That’s a good sign. That means you’re playing the game the right way. It gives you a chance to win.
“At the end of it, it was decided in a 3-on-3 skills competition. We’ve been on the right side of some of those this year … at the end of the day it was an important point for our group.”
This was the third straight Saturday night the Condors have gone to overtime or a shootout. They are 2-2 in overtimes this season.
The Condors controlled play the first 30-plus minutes but Tucson broke on top when Tyler Steenbergen did a 180-spin in the slot and beat Starrett with 4:45 left in the second.
Bakersfield’s sixth power play finally paid off as time was running down in the second. Ethan Bear sent a pass to Malone at the top of the left circle. Malone quickly dished to Currie at the low right circle. Currie mostly whiffed on the shot and Malone, who continued to drive low, scored from the left edge with seven seconds left.
Rookie winger Tyler Benson, who leads the Condors in points, had a four-game point streak come to an end.
The Condors head out of town on Tuesday to begin a three-game road trip. They are in Texas to face the Stars on Wednesday night, then head to Colorado for games against the Eagles on Friday and Saturday nights.