Make that an even dozen.
The Bakersfield Condors steamrolled the San Diego Gulls on Saturday night at Rabobank Arena to extend their winning streak to a 21-year old franchise-high 12 games.
The Gulls, who were 14-3-1 in their last 15, were simply no match for the Condors who blew open a close game with five second-period goals en route to a 7-1 victory before a raucous 6,112.
“Full credit to our players,” Condors coach Jay Woodcroft said. “You can really see how they care for each other, work for each other and play for each other.”
The victory moved the Condors to the top of the Pacific Division, one point ahead of idle San Jose.
“I’m sure you can hear the locker room from here,” said Condors goaltender Shane Starrett, who stopped 26 shots, when asked what the win meant. “We’re pretty pumped and we want to keep this rolling.”
This is an epic streak with some epic numbers
- The Condors have outscored opponents 56-23 during the run.
- Starrett has won 10 of the games and has allowed two or more goals just once for a .60 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
- Joe Gambardella has scored in 10 straight games. He has 17 points in that span (11 goals, six assists)
And on Saturday night it was a total beat down.
The first 76 seconds set the tone.
Starrett stopped San Diego’s leading scorer Max Jones on a breakaway 15 seconds into the game and on the very next shift Tyler Benson scored on a rebound from the slot to put the Condors up 1-0.
“I mean, look at the first shift of the game, he made a huge save,” Woodcroft said when asked about Starrett. “He stood tall for us. He makes the right saves at the right times.”
As has been so often this year with the Condors, the second period has been the money period and this time they delivered repeated jabs that left the Gulls appearing dazed and confused.
Defenseman William Lagesson fired a shot from the slot, drove to the net and put in his own rebound from the left edge to make it 2-1 at 3:31 and John Currie made it 3-1 with his 21st goal of the season at 5:35.
That set the stage for a fight between San Diego’s Ben Thomson and Evan Polei with Polei getting the decision in that one.
Then came the heavy punches.
Kailer Yamamoto scored a power-play goal at 12:43, Gambardella scored a short-hander on a solo breakaway at 15:20 and Patrick Russell added another shorty at 17:30 off a feed from Gambardella.
The Condors have outscored their opponents 75-51 in the second period this season.
“We call the second period our set up period,” Woodcroft said. “We make a big deal of it. When we can get in on the forecheck and establish a cycle, that grind, territorial game, that allows us to change in the offensive zone and stack a shift upon a shift upon a shift and so far it’s been a hallmark of our group.”
The third period was a bit anti-climatic.
Corey Trupp got San Diego’s lone goal with 1:08 and Tyler Vesel ended the scoring with seven seconds left.