BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer email@example.com
Goals have been hard to come by recently for the Condors and on Saturday night one was not enough.
The Utah Grizzlies scored a pair of first-period goals then held off a charge by the Condors for a 2-1 victory before 4,833 at Rabobank Arena.
The Grizzlies have now won 13 of 19 games since Christmas and have beaten every team in the ECHL Western Conference other than Alaska, who they have not played, during that stretch.
"They're a good team, they play a very similar style of hockey to us," Condors coach Troy Mann said.
Utah beat the Condors 5-2 on Friday night and the back-to-back losses are the first for Bakersfield since mid-November.
Mann said he was unhappy with the result, but not the effort.
"You know what? It was a good hockey game and we had our chances," he said. "I can't fault the effort. It was a 60-minute effort and guys played hard. Unfortunately, they got the extra break and we couldn't beat (Igor) Bobkov when it counted."
Bobkov stopped 30 shots for the win.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 26 shots for Bakersfield.
The difference pretty much came down to special teams. The Grizzlies were 1-for-5 on the power play; the Condors were 0-for-4.
Utah took a 1-0 lead 6:17 into the game when Jamie MacQueen scored a power-play goal, his sixth goal in five games against the Condors and 15th on the season.
The Grizzlies upped their lead to 2-0 at 12:58 when Phil Mangan's shot off a rebound just eluded Brossoit.
"We couldn't clear the puck, we had chances to clear it and didn't and the next thing you know it's in the back of our net," Mann said of the first goal. " Then the second goal, I'm sure LB would like to have that one back. There was a mistake (leading to the shot) but it's a game of mistakes."
Michael Neal cut Utah's lead in half when he scored his 11th goal from the high slot seven minutes into the second.
"I thought we settled back down and took over the game in the second and third," Mann said. "One thing I talked about after the first period was we had to get inside more, get to that blue paint (the goal crease), there were a lot of rebounds there.
"We started getting to those rebounds in the second and third but couldn't get that goal. I anticipated a really low, tight scoring game tonight and unfortunately we were only able to get one and weren't able to bail (Brossoit) out."
The Condors were playing without captain and leading scorer Joel Broda (19 goals, 35 points in 31 games). Broda took a high stick just under his eye in the second period on Friday night.
Mann said Broda was "day-to-day" and did not know if he would be back for Tuesday night's game against Stockton.