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By John Harte / Special to The Californian
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Condors captain Joel Broda likes the position his team is in -- leading its playoff series with Utah 2-1 in a best-of-seven series -- but knows that tonight's Game 4 could be the biggest battle yet.
"It's definitely a really good spot to be in," Broda said after scoring the overtime game-winner in a 4-3 victory on Tuesday. "They're going to be coming hard and we have to be ready. They're a good hockey team and they're going to come hard, play physical and be in our faces.
Utah at Condors
7 p.m. at Rabobank Arena
Radio: KHTY (970 AM)
Notes: Forward Andrew Carroll has points in all three games and leads the Condors in that category with three -- one goal and two assists. Charles Sarault leads the Grizzlies with two goals and an assist ... The Condors are 0-15 on the power play for the series. "The good news is we're up 2-1 in the series and our power play hasn't scored a goal yet," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "We tweaked our power play a little last game and we'll tweak it again." ... All fans attending tonight's game receive a free team poster.
"They're going to want to win that game. We gotta be ready, but we're looking forward to the challenge. We're excited."
All three playoff games have been decided by a goal, which should not be surprising. Including regular-season play, seven of the nine meetings between the two ECHL Western Conference teams have been decided by a lone goal.
What came as a surprise, Condors coach Troy Mann said, was how many goals it took to win on Tuesday night.
"I told my coaching staff (before the overtime) that I couldn't believe it was going to take four goals to win," he said. "There's not much of a difference between both teams. I never would have thought it would take four goals to win a hockey game in this series."
The Condors blanked Utah 1-0 in Game 1 and Utah beat the Condors 2-1 in Game 2.
"There wasn't a lot of scoring chances on either side (Tuesday night), just more goals," Mann said. "Both teams have had their breakdowns and both have had their opportunities to score.
"I didn't think either goalie was as sharp as they were in Games 1 and 2. LB (Laurent Brossoit) wasn't happy with his rebound control and I thought (Aaron) Dell was all over the map, too (with rebounds)."
Brossoit, who has a 1.67 goals-against average and .965 save percentage, will be back in net for the Condors tonight. Mann expects Igor Bobkof, who was just sent down from the American Hockey League, to start for the Grizzlies.
Bobkof was second in the regular season in goals-against at 2.04 (behind Brossoit's 2.01) and was tied for fourth in save percentage at .921.
"Bobkof is a big goalie (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) and covers a lot of the net," Mann said. "We're going to have to take his eyes away and continue to do what we talked about in the offensive zone play to try and create some kind of opportunities.
"We preach getting in front of the goalie and creating traffic. I still think we can do a better job."
Both teams made minor changes in lines and systems for Game 3 and Mann said the changes will continue for tonight's game.
"It's a bit of a chess match," he said. "We'll make the proper adjustments to make sure we're ready to go. It's always fun from a coaching perspective to play that little chess match with subtle changes, but overall I don't think there's major changes from either side."