By The Bakersfield Californian
One good thing about sports such as hockey is there is not much time to dwell on the past.
Which for the Condors is good thing as they started a grueling stretch of six games over nine days with two losses at home.
Thus, wen players boarded a bus shortly after 10 a.m. On Sunday morning, their thoughts were already on the task ahead — a midnight game in Vegas. From there they will fly to Colorado on Tuesday for games against the Eagles on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights.
A rough schedule for any team. Especially for a struggling team with a decimated defense.
Three of the team's top four D-men are out with injuries and did not make the trip.
Trying to help out as best he can is forward Liam Huculak, who has played on defense the past two games.
“(Condors coach Matt) O'Dette asked me if I had (played D) before and I had I had and would be willing to give it a try,” Huculak said of how he ended up on D. “I played a little bit last year actually in Colorado, but not to the extent of playing a full game like I have here the last couple of games.”
With the busy schedule it's a learn-as-you-play undertaking.
“It's a lot different,” Huculak said. “As a forward you're used to backchecking. As a D-man you see the whole play coming at you. I've noticed a few times guys sneaking past me and me not noticing it.
“It's just a little different as far as reading the play and stuff like that.
I think I'm adjusting well but it's tough. (There's) a lot of communication with the goalie and your other D partner. A few things like that I have to work out.”
It's a tough transition and O'Dette said the big (6-5, 225) forward will be filling in on D for the duration of the trip.
“You just have to get through it,” Huculak said of the injuries that have put him in an unfamiliar role. “We have to go with what we've got. It's tough but we're dong it.
“I'm definitely getting a lot of ice time on defense which is weird for me.”