BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer email@example.com
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- In a series where hard-nosed physical play is going to be the norm, Bakersfield's "grind line" came up big on Friday night.
Andrew Carroll deflected a shot from Erik Burgdoerfer for the only goal 4:59 into the third period as the Condors opened the ECHL playoff with a 1-0 victory over the Utah Grizzlies.
"It was certainly a hard-fought hockey game; real physical play," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "There were not a ton of scoring chances either way."
Carroll has some reminders of the physical play, as he caught a stick in the face late in the second period and was stitched up during intermission.
"I don't know how many he got, but he was cut pretty bad," Mann said.
Mann's regular lines were jumbled a bit as Matt Thurber fell ill before the game and rookie Mitch Holmberg was inserted into the lineup. Holmberg led the Western Hockey League with 118 points this year and was assigned to the team by Oklahoma City on Monday.
Mann said the key to the game was the first 10 minutes as the Condors were out shot 7-1.
"After weathering the storm early on I thought we played well and had the better opportunities," he said.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 26 shots for his ninth shutout of the season. It was just the third playoff shutout in Condors team history.
"He was good, he made it look easy," Mann said. "He was the key in first 10 minutes."
Fifteen minutes after the game, Mann was already looking ahead.
"This one's in the books, lets go and try to get that second one," he said.