It was a tired Manitoba Moose team that skated onto the Rabobank Arena ice on Saturday evening and the Condors took full advantage.
The Moose played a physical game (four fights, more than 100 combined penalty minutes) in San Diego on Friday night before bussing to Bakersfield and the Condors were quick to pounce.
Cooper Marody scored five minutes into the game, Patrick Russell scored with five minutes left in the first period and the Condors went on to a 4-0 victory before 4,560.
“That’s a tough turnaround, we’ve had that turnaround before, and tough team down in San Diego,” Condors coach Jay Woodcroft said of trying to take advantage of the situation. “I believe it is the first shutout for us, which is great. Our special teams won us the game. We scored a power-play goal and killed of the penalties that we did take.
“We asked our group to maintain their discipline.They only took two penalties that led to power plays for the other team.”
The Condors allowed just five shots in the first while registering 14 of their own. Marody’s goal came from low in the right circle when he went by a Moose defenseman on a rush.
Russell was back in the lineup after spending two weeks with Edmonton and had an immediate impact as Woodcroft reunited the Joe Gambardella-Brad Malone-Russell line.
Gambardella started the play with an outlet pass to Malone who fed Russell. Russell was trying to get the puck back to Malone but the puck went off a Moose player’s skate and into the net for the goal.
Starrett saw just six shots in the second period, but he made two big saves to preserve Bakersfield’s two-goal lead. The first came on a breakaway 8:15 into the period and the second was on a point-blank deflection with 2:50 left.
He wound up stopping 25 shots and is now 4-0 on the season.
“Shane’s been very calm in net for us,” Woodcroft said. “He made some big saves on some of the shots we did give up. He was big in the net. He was calm. He swallowed the puck, there wasn’t a lot of loose change lying around him. Very, very good start for him and our team.”
The Condors connected on a power play 54 seconds into the third as defenseman Logan Day got the puck at the point and skated untouched below the dot in the right circle from where he fired a wrister high into the net.
Gambardella got the final goal, hitting an empty net with a minute remaining.
“Lots of good signs for us,” Woodcroft said. “Not a perfect game, but lots of good signs for us heading into the month of December here.”
Condors rookie forward Kailer Yamamoto and defenseman Ethan Bear were both injured during the game. Yamamoto did not play after the first period. Bear did not play in the third.
“I haven’t had the doctor update just yet, I haven’t even talked to our training staff or doctors,” Woodcroft said when asked about the injuries.
The Moose will be spending the next few days in Bakersfield as the two teams play again on Wednesday night. After that they head to Stockton for a pair of games against the Heat to wind up a six-game California road trip.