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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
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By Henry A. Barrios / The CalifornianThe condors celebrate their 1st period goal against Idaho Sunday.
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By Henry A. Barrios / The CalifornianThe Condors # 10 Andrew Carroll keeps his eyes on the puck as he falls to the ice in their game against Idaho Sunday.
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By Henry A. Barrios / The CalifornianThe Condors # 20 Ryan Little appears to have gotten hit in the mouth during their game with Idaho Sunday.
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By Henry A. Barrios / The CalifornianThe Condors # 20 Ryan Little appears to get hit in the mouth by Idaho's Dalton Reum during their game Sunday.
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer email@example.com
It's been a pretty good six weeks for the Bakersfield Condors.
So, to celebrate, the team allowed fans to take victory laps with them Sunday evening at Rabobank Arena.
It was actually just a long-planned opportunity to skate with the team following Sunday's 3-0 victory the Idaho Steelheads.
But it was the third straight win for the Condors, a first this season; their eighth in 11 games and 10th over the last 15.
Oh yeah, they've also won five straight on home ice.
So, why not call it victory laps as the 2013 portion of the season comes to an end?
That's an impressive turn around from a 1-10-1 start.
"When I first got here I talked about (how) we had to learn how to play hockey the right way, play smart and tilt the odds in our favor," said captain Joel Broda, who had a goal and assist and now has 18 points in the past 11 games. "It's been a process but I feel like for the most part we've done a great job of that. We've learned how to play as a team. And we've learned if we play a certain way we're going to have a great chance of winning every night, no matter who we're playing. I think that's a big part of it."
Goaltending has also played a large role in the persons of Chet Pickard, Tyler Bunz and Laurent Brossoit, who was assigned to the Condors from Oklahoma City on Dec. 17 and is 3-1 with the Condors with a pair of shutouts. He also had two shutouts against the Condors when he was property of Calgary of the National Hockey League and assigned to the Alaska Aces.
He stopped 23 shots against the Steelheads.
"I'm just glad that right now I'm seeing the puck and helping whichever team I'm on," he said after being named the No. 1 star. "It is the team. You saw it out there. I didn't get the majority of my shots until the third period. The team did a great job of keeping them in the perimeter and making everything easy. Every rebound I let out they got possession of it. It definitely wasn't a one-man show."
The Condors, who had not played since a 4-3 win over Las Vegas on Thursday, were aggressive at the outset as the Steelheads were playing their third game in as many days.
Bakersfield kept the Wranglers bottled up most of the first period and an aggressive fore-check created turnovers that led to the first two goals.
The first came 18:19 into the first period when Jordan Knacksted scored off a pass from Broda after a steal by Andrew Carroll.
The game-changer came in the waning seconds of the second period when another steal in the Idaho zone led to Broda scoring his team-high 11th goal with just .4 of a second left to make it 2-0.
"That goal is just an example of being aggressive," Broda said. "We have someone force a turnover and we get a lucky bounce where it bounces between a guys' skates and I'm able to pounce on the puck and get a quick goal.
"It's from all five guys being on their toes and making those turnovers and backing each other up to be able to be aggressive like that. That's been a big key for us."
Brossoit made two big saves just under a minute into the second period to keep it a two-goal game.
Nicholas Tremblay added an insurance goal five minutes into the period when he scored off a quick up-ice rush.
Brossoit was his busiest at the end as three Bakersfield penalties by the Condors over the final 10 minutes led to allowed the Steelheads puck possession time in the Bakersfield zone.