Jay Woodcroft pointed to a key stat this week when talking about his team’s success.
Goals against this season. For the Condors, that number would be 146, which stands at No. 1 overall in the American Hockey League.
Not surprisingly, the Condors also rank first in the Pacific Division standings, holding a 37-17-2-1 overall record and 75 points to their name.
The playoffs appear to be well in sight with 15 games remaining in the regular season schedule.
Two of those contests come this week, when Bakersfield hosts San Diego on Wednesday and Ontario on Saturday at Rabobank Arena.
“Everything we have done this year is geared towards bringing that number down,” said Woodcroft, noting the team surrendered over 200 goals a season ago.
Woodcroft obviously brought up the play of goaltender Shane Starrett, who has been lights out for Bakersfield (23-4-3-1 record, 2.21 goals against average, 92.2 save percentage, three shutouts).
“He’s our backbone,” the coach pointed out.
Woodcroft also said the Condors have done an excellent job, for the most part, in controlling time of possession. During a three-game road swing last weekend at San Jose and Stockton, Woodcroft said the team held its own in that area once again.
“You’re not in your end as much, which brings shots against down. You’re controlling the play,” Woodcroft explained.
“That gives you a chance to win. Doesn’t guarantee a win….But you’re in the game.”
After going 2-1 last week, the Condors have won 20 of 22 games and look to keep things going back in their friendly home confines.
Woodcroft said the team has also done an exceptional job playing with a singular focus — in system, for their teammates, with little distractions surrounding their mission.
“We stick to the gameplan, we play within our identity, we don’t have independent contractors that are looking to go their own way,” he said. “We have a belief system and, so far, the results have been there.”