By BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
So much for prosperity.
A modest points streak of three games came to a crashing halt for the Condors, who could not overcome untimely penalties and a couple of huge mistakes on Friday night in a 5-2 loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers at Rabobank Arena.
The game was much closer than the score, but that’s no solace to the Condors, who at 5-8-1-1 are trying to claw their way back to .500.
“Two big mistakes and two full 5 on 3s,” Condors coach Matt O’Dette said in summing up where things went south.
A turnover and penalties proved a deadly combination in the second period as the Wranglers scored three goals off that combination to take a 3-1 lead.
The first goal came 6:06 into the period when Sean Wiles scored one second after a power play expired to make it 1-0 for Las Vegas. That goal came after the Condors had killed 1:48 of a Las Vegas two-man advantage.
The Condors rebounded quickly from that as Tyler Brenner scored his team-high fifth goal 9:25.
Then came a turnover by Olivier Malka at the Las Vegas blue line and a breakaway goal by Eric Lampe at 11:47 to put the Wranglers up 2-1.
The big blow came with 5:13 left in the period. That's when Bakersfield’s Evan Trupp was sent into the boards for a penalty against the Wranglers. But Tyson Gimblett immediately jumped the offending Wrangler — Josh Godfrey — and was called for instigating, fighting and a game misconduct for his third fight.
Instead of a two-minute power play, the Condors found themselves on the wrong end of a five-minute Las Vegas power play. Midway through that, they went down two men and it took Josh Lunden just eight seconds to put the Wranglers up 3-1.
“Two full 5-on-3s, you don’t want to do that in a game and it seems like it’s against these guys all the time,” O’Dette said. “It’s tough to kill those off.”
As for Gimblett’s penalty, O’Dette was not too critical of his physical defenseman.
“Tyson was sticking up for his teammate and it cost us big time,” he said. “There was a snap decision there by him. He could have maybe let up and just got a two but he got a two (for instigating) and a five (for fighting) which normally you don’t see it called like that. Maybe a double minor.”
Still as critical as that was, the Condors came out flying to open the third period and cut the Las Vegas lead to 3-2 when Parker Stanfield scored his fifth goal 3:51 into the period.
Las Vegas goaltender Joe Fallon made a couple of nice saves after that to keep the Wranglers in front. Then came the nail in the coffin — an easy goal by Lampe who was left unguarded at the left edge of the net and scored off a cross-ice feed with
71⁄2 minutes left.
“We came back in the third and it was just a breakdown in the D-zone, you can’t get an easier goal than that,” O’Dette said. “That was disappointing to finish a game like that.”
Chris Collins added an empty-net goal in the final seconds for the Wranglers, who snapped a six-game losing streak.
“The disappointing part is we were playing hard for most of the game,” O’Dette said. “We did a lot of good things.”
The Condors host the Ontario Reign tonight. The Reign has won six straight, the last 8-2 over San Francisco on Wednesday night.
“We have a really good team coming in and we have to play our absolute best,” O’Dette said.
Tonight is the first ever Date a Condor Night and all fans at the game will receive one entry form to win a date with a Condors player/head coach/broadcaster/equipment manager. Additional entries are available for 45 each or five for $10 if one wants to stack the deck a bit.