Condors

Friday, May 02 2014 11:06 PM

Condors come on late, take Game 1 from Thunder

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    The crowd during the first period for Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena between the Condors and Stockton appeared sparse.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Andrew Carroll unloads a shot at the end of the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener against Stockton at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield's Jordan Knackstedt carries the puck into the Stockton zone during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Joel Broda of the Condors works to control the puck against Stockton's Matt Bergland (17) during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield's Joel Broda is stopped on a rare penalty kill breakaway by Stockton goalie Brian Foster during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. It was the second of two outstanding scoring chances for the Condors in the period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield's Joel Broda is stopped on a rare penalty kill breakaway by Stockton goalie Brian Foster during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. It was the second of two outstanding scoring chances for the Condors in the period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Stockton's Nicholas Tremblay shoots and scores against Bakersfield defenseman Wes Cunningham during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. The goal gave Stockton a 1-0 lead.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Stockton's Riley Wetmore (29) and Bakersfield's Joel Broda race for the puck during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Spencer Bennett hits Stockton's Nicholas Tremblay during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Stockton's Corey Trivino has a step on Condor Spencer Bennett as he races into the Bakersfield zone during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Chris Collins lands hard during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena against Stockton.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Ryan Watson unloads a shot during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. Stockton's Ryan Constant tries to reach him.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    A frantic scramble unfolds in front of Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. Condor defenders are Collin Bowman (14), Erik Burgdoerfer (2) and Joel Broda (19). Stockton players are Landon Oslanski (27), Ryan Hayes (18) and Andrew Clark (21).

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor defenseman Joe Marciano looks to make a pass before he is pressured by Stockton's Adam Brace during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Greg Miller (27) tries to get to the puck during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. He is surrounded by Stockton players Matt Bergland (left), Adam Brace, Riley Wetmore (29) and Ben Rosen (right).

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Gary Steffes reacts after realizing he missed a golden scoring chance during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. Stockton player is Ryan Hayes. Steffes missed an open net that would have given Bakersfield a 1-0 lead.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Gary Steffes (22) shoots toward an open net but misses during the first period of Friday night's second round playoff opener at Rabobank Arena. It was the first of two excellent scoring chances during the period against Stockton that the Condors did not convert.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

Stockton was good early, the Condors were better late.

That was the difference on Friday night as the Condors rallied for a 3-2 victory at Rabobank Arena.

The Condors tied the opening game on an ECHL Western Conference semifinal matchup with two goals in the final 12 minutes of the second period and captain Joel Broda scored the game-winner five minutes into the third off a bad-angle shot that eluded Brian Foster.

Broda's goal came when he turned and fired the puck from low in the right circle after his line had spent a long shift in the Thunder zone.

"I thought back to to (Andrew) Carroll's goal last series (an overtime winner from a bad angle in Game 4 against Utah) and just wanted to throw it at the net and got (Foster) off guard," Broda said. "We'll take it."

Laurent Brossoit stopped 24 shots in the win while Foster stopped 21.

The Condors trailed 2-0 when Ryan Watson started the comeback when he scored from the low slot off a rebound 8:27 into the second.

"That was huge," Broda said. "We need a spark there. And those guys went out there and did it. Just a greasy playoff goal crashing the net and shooting it at the net and it goes in.

"It was a huge goal and really lifted us. I thought we kind of took over from there."

Stockton held a Condors power play at bay shortly after that, regained a bit of momentum, but lost it when Chase Schaber came open in the slot and made a coupel of nifty moves before beating Foster with 1:13 left in the period to tie the game.

"We talked about how we need to play against those guys and I thought physically they were the better team early," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "They were taking it to us and being more physical. We need to play as physical as they are or even more because that's part of our style and part of our game.

"The Watson goal provided some momentum and, to get that second goal was big."

The Condors fell behind 14:47 into the opening period when former Condor Nicholas Tremblay came open in the slot and beat Brossoit for the first goal of the game.

It is the first time the Condors had not scored the first goal in six playoff games.

Just over a minute later, Brossoit kept it a one-goal game when he stopped Andrew Clark on a breakaway, which led to a Stockton power play.

The best opportunity on that power play was a short-handed breakaway by Broda with Foster making the stop with 3:25 left in the period.

Stockton's Ryan Hayes out the Thunder up 2-0 five minutes into the second on a shot from the high slot.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," Mann said. "I really didn't like our start. We looked a bit nervous early. Their speed certainly was evident but I thought we got our composure. We talked about after the second period that we were playing OK.

"In the third I thought we were excellent. I know we got the goal to win the game, but I thought defensively we were real superb there and I thought we shut things down pretty good in the third period."

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