Condors coach Jay Woodcroft has said all season long that wins were worth about 10 or 15 minutes of celebration before resetting to the next task on hand.
But Thursday morning after a crucial come-from behind 7-6 overtime victory over San Diego on Wednesday night, there remained a bit of a buzz in San Diego’s Hotel Circle.
The Condors, two goals down with under 10 minutes to play and facing a potential 0-3 deficit in the best-of-seven Pacific Division Finals, clawed back into the series as Tyler Benson tied the game with 10 seconds to play and William Lagesson scored 33 seconds into overtime for the victory.
“A lot of excitement in the dressing room after that one, for sure,” Benson said on Thursday from the hotel as players had a day off from skating. “I think it’s even carried over a little bit today. But going into the next game we’re going to have to put those three games behind us and focus on this one for sure.”
“This one” is Game 4 in San Diego on Friday night with the Condors down 2-1 in the series. Game 5 is in Bakersfield on Saturday night,.
Still, there was plenty of talk about the team’s biggest win of the season. Most revolving around the team’s unyielding will to succeed in a game where they led 3-1 before falling behind 6-4.
“We don’t give up,” said defenseman Ethan Bear, whose blast from the point put the Condors up 3-1 early in the second. “It’s playoffs, you never know what happens. (You) just have to keep pushing and believe in yourself. Guys stepped up, took a lot of pride in coming back. It was really fun to be a part of.”
“That whole third period we were down two but we still believed on the bench that if we kept pushing we were going to get a couple and that’s what we did,” Benson said.
Credit the players, said Woodcroft
“I think our group is a special group,” he said. “Their care for each other runs deep, they dig in when times are the toughest. At 6-4 I felt we still had a lot of game left, a lot of period left. We were doing little things that were creating chances. Then we scored the big goal (by Brad Malone with nine minutes left) to make it 6-5. You could feel us coming.
“What I liked is we had a look about us that we weren’t going to be denied, regardless of the adversity in the game. We were going to find a way. Credit to all 20 players who contributed to that win.”
While the win was much needed and certainly special, the emphasis is now squarely on trying to even the series with another win on Friday night.
“I’m happy we won, but now we have to focus on Game 4,” Bear said.
It will certainly be a hostile environment, which Woodcroft said his team can handle.
“I think our veterans calm the waters a little bit when we get in tough environments,” he said. “You talk about two tough environments, the building in Colorado, they don’t get much tougher than that and this one down here in San Diego. When the barn gets rocking it’s a tough place to play.
“But, we’ve had success in this building We understand the little things to win.”
Video sessions on Thursday were designed to help reinforce doing the little things the right way.
“A series comes down to a race to four wins, Woodcroft said. “Right now we’ve won one game. We’ve addressed a few things. We’re looking forward to making sure we’re ready to play Game 4.”