It took 58 seconds into overtime, but the Condors finally delivered a knockout punch to the Stockton Heat on Friday night at Rabobank Arena.
The final blow came when Cooper Marody skated down the right side, went around a Stockton defender and beat Heat goaltender Jon Gillies from the edge of the paint for a dramatic 5-4 win in front of 5,221.
“A big two points,” Condors coach Jay Woodcroft. “Gives us a little bit of grey hair with some of the chances we give up. Being down heading into the third period, we found a way to win. That’s a sign of a good team.”
The Condors were down 3-2 heading into the final period before Josh Currie evened it up when he scored a power play six minutes in. Joe Gambardella then put the Condors up 4-3 when he scored another power-play goal three minutes later.
But a scuffle in Bakersfield’s zone with eight minutes left led to a two-minute cross checking penalty on Stockton’s Spencer Foo and a five-minute match penalty for cross checking for Bakersfield captain Keegan Lowe.
That resulted in a three-minute power play for the Heat and Dillon Dube sent a one-timer past Shane Starrett with 4:19 left to make it 4-4.
Marody’s was the only shot in overtime.
The win was the third straight for Bakersfield (19-15-2-1).
The Condors found themselves down 1-0 midway through the first period when Alan Quine beat Starrett to the glove side on a wrister from the high slot.
From that point on, it was all Condors for the remainder of the period.
Tyler Benson, who had three assists against Stockton on Wednesday night, scored his fifth goal of the season at 10:52 when he beat Gillies from low in the left circle off a rebound.
The Condors took a 2-1 lead at 13:41 when David Gust scored from the high slot. That came shortly after a power play expired as the Condors continued to cycle in the Heat zone.
Bakersfield had a couple of more Grade A scoring chances in the period, but Gillies was up for the challenge and ended the period with a big save on a quick shot from Brad Malone in the slot.
The Condors got into penalty trouble in the second period and the Heat took full advantage, scoring a pair of power-play goals to go up 3-2.
Kerby Rychel scored at 6:40 off a rebound to tie the game and back-to-back Bakersfield penalties late in the period led to a go-ahead goal. The Condors had five seconds left on a penalty when Ryan Stanton sent a clearing pass over the glass, setting up a brief 5-on-3. Stockton scored seconds into the subsequent power play on a shot by Tyler Graovac.
The Condors boarded a bus following the game for the long haul to San Diego, where they face the Gulls Saturday at 7 p.m. Bakersfield is 1-4-1 against San Diego, which has not lost in regulation in 15 games (12-0-1-2). The Gulls did not play on Friday night.
The Edmonton Oilers scouting meetings were just held in Palm Springs so Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig MacTavish, Assistant GM Keith Gretzky and a couple of European scouts were on hand for the game. MacTavish and Gretzky will also take in the Gulls game.
It was dollar hot dog night and fans were apparently very hungry as the arena ran out of hot dogs at the end of the first intermission. The Condors announced that they would make sure to have double the dogs on hand and do it again on Feb. 8 when San Jose comes to town.