Bakersfield had just tied the San Jose Barracuda early in the second period when Condors goaltender Shane Starrett found himself facing a pair of San Jose players racing in on him with nary a Condor around.
The Barracuda leading goal scorer Francois Perron had the puck on his stick, drove deep into the right circle and tried to beat Starrett. Starrett made the save and a rebound attempt went high and wide.
The Condors added two more goals in the period and went on to a 3-1 victory before 5,111 at Rabobank Arena.
It was the 11th straight victory for the Condors, tying the 21-year-old franchise high. The Condors won 11 straight as a West Coast Hockey League team in 1999 and did it as an ECHL team in 2011.
The Condors can make it 12 straight on Saturday night as the San Diego Gulls roll into Rabobank Arena.
Starrett, who made 27 saves, has nine of the wins during the streak. Only once has he allowed more than two goals.
“I thought Shane’s been our backbone behind our team’s success here,” Condors coach Jay Woodcroft said. “He gives us a chance to win every night. He made some big saves at key moments which allowed us to take a deep breath and find our legs and our game.
“We took the game over in the second period on the basis of our forecheck and cycle. It was nice to see us get rewarded.”
The Condors are now just one point behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose. The Gulls are two points behind the Condors.
San Jose took a 1-0 lead 8:51 into the first when Antii Suomrla put a rebound into a mostly open net after the Condors failed to clear their zone.
The second period has been the best all season long for the Condors (they are plus 21 in goal differential) and they scored all three goals in the second on Friday night.
“They got that early one but as of late we just don’t put our heads down,” said Josh Currie, who scored his 20th goal. “We keep trucking, keep working. We know we’re never out of the game. We just rally with each other.”
Joe Gambardella got the scoring started when he deflected a shot by Ryan Spooner for his team-high 22nd goal. That came less than 20 seconds after Starrett kept it a one-goal game when he stopped a Grade A shot.
Moments later, Starrett made another impressive stop, this one on a 2-on-0 break with four minutes gone and the Condors took a 2-1 lead at 9:11 when Currie scored his 20th. It is third straight year he’s had 20 or more goals.
Tyler Benson got an insurance goal (his seventh of the season) at 13:23.
“It’s impressive, it really is,” Currie said of the streak. “There’s a lot of credit that goes to everyone in that locker room. Everyone is showing up every day whether it’s practice or a game and the coaching staff especially has done a great job keeping us focused on the job at hand. I can’t say enough about the guys in the locker room.”
Gambardella’s goal extended his point streak to nine games (10 goals and five assists) and echoed Currie.
“It’s really awesome right now,” he said. “It’s fun being at the rink every day. Everyone’s getting a real excitement out of it. We have a long way to go but everyone shows up with a willingness to work and get better every day and I think that’s a big part of why we’ve been able to be so success down the stretch here. Hopefully we can continue.”