One was playing his 414th professional hockey game. The other was making his pro debut.
And both contributed mightily to the Condors' 5-4 victory over San Antonio on Thursday night at Rabobank Arena before 4,151.
Veteran Brad Malone scored a pair of goals as did David Gust, who signed an AHL contract with the Condors over the summer after finishing four years of play at Ohio State.
Patrick Russell ended up with the game winner on a short-handed goal with 4:48 remaining after Malone was denied, got the rebound, and fed Russell.
“That’s why we brought him in, for that leadership,” Condors coach Gerry Fleming said of Malone. “He was good on the bench tonight, he was good on draws, he was good away from the puck.
“A couple of plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet: backchecking, making smart plays. Those are the type of things we need from our veterans.”
And it doesn’t hurt when an all-rookie fourth line — Joe Gambardella-Chad Butcher-Gust — comes up big.
“We put them together at the beginning of the week,” Fleming said. “We liked what we saw in practice and that translated into a good game for them. It’s a nice way to start your pro career with a couple of goals, but overall I thought that line was one of our best lines tonight.”
San Antonio opened the scoring eight minutes to into first period, when George Bourque scored right after a Bakersfield power play expired. Malone drew the Condors even when his shot from a bad angle — below the right face-off circle — beat Ville Husso at 17:12. San Antonio’s Andrew Agozzino scored with 24 second left in the second to go up 2-1.
“I’ll chalk it up to luck,” Malone said of his bad-angle goal. “Usually you want to go up high in that situation, from the side of the net. I think I got a little fortunate there, off the side of his head and in. You just try to get pucks to the net. That’s our game plan and I was fortunate enough for it to kick in.”
Gust tied the game 2-2 with his first pro goal off a rebound 3:07 into the second and Malone made it 3-2 just under two minutes later. Gust got his second from between the circles at 11:32 to make it 4-2 but San Antonio’s Samuel Blais cut the lead to one 90 seconds later.
Russell’s short-handed goal gave the Condors a needed two-goal cushion as the Rampage got their final goal with 3:16 mark on Blais' power play tally.
The Condors outshot the Rampage 35-25.
Eddie Pasquale stopped 21 shots to get the win.
- The Condors finished the game with four defensemen. Mark Fayne went down in the first period with a lower-body injury and Keegan Lowe left midway through the third with a lower-body injury.
- Jake Beaton dropped the ceremonial pregame puck. Jake is the son of Jack Beaton, one of 59 killed in the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1.
- Oilers brass are keeping an eye on the farm. Craig MacTavish, VP of Hockey Operations for Edmonton was in attendance on Thursday night. Kevin Lowe, Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, will take in Saturday’s game against Tucson.
- Ryan Hamilton is wearing a “C” as captain of the Condors for the third straight season. Four players will rotate as alternates: defensemen Dillon Simpson and Keegan Lowe, and forwards Mitch Callahan and Brad Malone.
- As usual, the Condors are keeping plenty of extra bodies around in the early going and there were five healthy scratches on Thursday: forwards Braden Christoffer, Greg Chase and Evan Polei, along with defensemen Ben Betker and Ziyat Paigin.