Condors

Sunday, Apr 13 2014 09:55 PM

Condors drop season finale to Wranglers

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Things get stacked up at the Wrangler goal with goalie Travis Fullerton, Brendan Rempel and Condor Andrew Carroll.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Wrangler Chad Nehring has a hard time getting the puck through the defense of Condors Joel Broda (19), Erik Burgdoerfer (2) and goalie Chet Pickard.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Things get tense in front of the Condors goal as Wrangler Geoff Paukovich moves in Condors' Travis Gawryletz (55) and Joey Leach come to the aid of goalie Chet Pickard. No goal was scored.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Condor Greg Miller takes off with this first-period puck followed by teammate Joel Broda, and Wranglers Chad Nehring (23) and John Armstrong.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Bakersfield's Chase Schaber sends up a spray of ice as he cuts back on Wrangler Greg Cobum.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Condors_LV

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    First period action around the Las Vegas goal with Wrangler Eddie Del Grosso, Condor Greg Miller, and goalie Travis Fullerton.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Condors' Andrew Carroll takes aim at the goal but Las Vegas goalie Travis Fullerton would make the stop.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Bakersfield's Wes Cunningham throws a block on Carlo Finucci of Las Vegas.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Joel Broda, left, and Joe Marciano of Bakersfield, follow a loose puck with Las Vegas' Chad Nehring.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Bakersfield's Spencer Bennett battles Geoff Irwin of Las Vegas for control of the puck in the first period at Rabobank Arena.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@Bakersfield.com

In reality, there wasn't much at stake Sunday afternoon at Rabobank Arena.

A win over Las Vegas would have given the Condors the fifth seed heading into the ECHL Western Conference playoffs, a loss meant a sixth seed.

Playing their third game in as many days, the Condors didn't put up much of a fight as the Las Vegas Wranglers took a 4-1 victory, snapping Bakersfield's six-game winning streak.

The Condors open the playoffs in Utah on Friday.

"As a coaching staff you really want to finish as high as you can in the standings," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "Today was definitely a trap game with them not playing on Friday and us with two big emotional games, especially Friday's game. And even down in Ontario. It's always a battle with those guys.

"I just felt the energy was not going to be there today and certainly it came true."

Captain Joel Broda saved the first "Undie Sunday" as he scored a power-play goal with a minute left, which allowed the fans to toss a wide variety of packaged undergarments onto the ice.

The game was a make-up of one scheduled in December when the Wranglers got stuck on the other side of the mountains when Highway 58 was closed due to snow.

Robert Smith opened the scoring 17:05 into the first period and the Wranglers had a 2-0 lead three minutes into the second when the puck deflected off Chris Kushneriuk's skate and past Chet Pickard. Shawn Skelly added a power-play goal later in the second and Justin Bernhardt had a third-period goal.

"We weren't sharp," Mann said. "Our passing wasn't on. It just wasn't a great hockey game overall, maybe one of the worst games played in the building all year."

Bakersfield, which started the season 1-10-1, finished at 36-30-2-4.

"As for the slow start, I look at the Florida Everblades who started the season 0-8-1-1 and they're not in the playoffs right now," Mann said. "For us, you have to give the credit to the room for buying in and sticking with it.

"We played .700 hockey for a long stretch of the season and other than the slow start the only hiccup we had was a little bit of a 10-game stretch where we were really short-handed and playing a tight schedule and went 3-7. Other than that we might have had the best record in the league.

The focus for the Condors now switches to the Utah Grizzlies, who won six of their last 10 games heading into the postseason.

The Condors were 2-3-0-1 against the Grizzlies this season.

"We haven't played them in a while," Mann said of the Grizzlies. "They're a team that kind of started the season a little bit slow just like us. I think they play a very similar game. I suspect it's going to be a low scoring series because they play a very defensive structure, almost a swarm D-zone coverage. It's tough to generate offense that way.

"If you look at their goaltending numbers I believe (Igor) Bobkof is an American Hockey League goalie that played in the ECHL this year. His numbers are as good or better than (Laurent Brossoit's) so it's going to be a goaltending battle as well."

The Condors have home playoff games on April 22 and 24 and, if needed, on April 25. Playoff schedule

Game 1 -- Bakersfield at Utah, Fri, April 18 at 6:10 p.m.

Game 2 -- Bakersfield at Utah -- Saturday at 6:10 p.m.

Game 3 -- Utah at Bakersfield -- April 22 at 7 p.m.

Game 4 -- Utah at Bakersfield -- April 24 at 7 p.m.

Game 5 -- Utah at Bakersfield -- April 25 at 7 p.m. (if necessary)

Game 6 -- Bakersfield at Utah -- April 27 at 6:10 p.m. (if necessary)

Game 7 -- Bakersfield at Utah -- April 30 at 6:10 or 7:10 p.m. (if necessary)

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