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Condors to play in front of select fans for remainder of season

20210127-bc-Condors

Condors forwards Luke Esposito and Cooper Marody participate in conditioning drills at practice in January.

For the first time in more than a year, the Bakersfield Condors will have an opportunity to play in front of its home fans at Mechanics Bank Arena on Saturday when they host the San Diego Gulls for an 8 p.m. game.

With Kern County moving into the orange tier, the Condors are allowed to have a limited number of fans in its venue — 10 percent capacity — for the remainder of the season.

Tickets are currently limited to season-ticket holders, with Condors 365 members receiving priority. No general public tickets are on sale at this time. Other fans can sign up on bakersfieldcondors.com to be notified if and when other tickets might become available.

“We are ecstatic to welcome back fans beginning on Saturday,” Condors Team President Matthew Riley said. “It has been a long time since we have seen many of our fans and we cannot thank them enough for their patience throughout this process. We would also like to thank local and state health officials, the City of Bakersfield, and ASM/Mechanics Bank Arena for their work in making this possible.”

Saturday’s game will be the Condors’ first home game with fans since March 7 of last year, a span of 406 days. In the last home game — Star Wars Night — a raucous crowd of 7,642, many of whom were donning costumes, was treated to a thriller, one that saw the hometown Condors come out on top. Behind a goal by Kirill Maksimov and some big saves by goalie Shane Starrett, Bakersfield eked out a 4-3 shootout win over Stockton.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement — and later the cancellation — of the season. The Condors will be the first AHL team in California to play in front of a home crowd this season. The game will also be televised live on 23ABC.

The Condors have six home games remaining this season, including a 5 p.m. matchup on April 24 against the Ontario Reign and on April 28 against the Henderson Silver Knights at 6 p.m., and three more games in May.

Bakersfield is currently in second place in the Pacific Division with a 14-9-0-1 record following an 0-5 start.

The team has been one of the highest scoring in the AHL with three players ranking in the top 10 in scoring this season.

Cooper Marody is second in scoring with 16 goals and 11 assists, while teammate Tyler Benson is fourth with eight goals and 18 assists. Ryan McLeod is eighth with 22 points, with 11 goals and 11 assists.