Condors

Saturday, Feb 22 2014 10:51 PM

Condors follow the plan to hold off Wranglers, 3-1

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Spencer Bennett, center, battles several Las Vegas players for the puck during action Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Greg Miller, right, takes the puck past Las Vegas' Greg Coburn during Saturday night's game at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Chase Schaber looks to pass during action against Las Vegas Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Chase Schaber, right, towers over Las Vegas' Nick Wheeler during action Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Michael Neal brings down a pass during first period action against Las Vegas Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Ryan Little, right, and Las Vegas' Robert Smith work for control of the puck during Saturday night's game at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Andrew Carroll sets up a play during first period action against Las Vegas Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Gary Steffes take a shot on goal during the first period against Las Vegas at Rabobank Arena.

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  9. 9 of 16

    By Nick Ellis / Special for the Californian

    The Condors at Las Vegas game Saturday night.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Matt Thurber passes the puck during first period action against Las Vegas at Rabobank Arena Saturday night.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' George Hughes passes the puck during first period action against Las Vegas at Rabobank Arena Saturday night.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special for the Californian

    The Condors' Spencer Bennett, left, and Las Vegas' Brendan Rempel tangle up during action Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special for the Californian

    The Condors' Michael Neal works the puck toward the goal as Las Vegas' Robert Smith comes up to defend during first period action Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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  14. 14 of 16

    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Chase Schaber, left, passes while Las Vegas' Greg Coburn defends during Saturday night's game at Rabobank Arena.

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  15. 15 of 16

    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' Chase Schaber, left, and Las Vegas' Brendan Rempel battle for the puck during action Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    The Condors' George Hughes takes control of the puck during first period action against Las Vegas at Rabobank Arena Saturday night.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

Condors coach Troy Mann said in a pre-game interview that it was key for his team to dictate the pace of play and come out hard in order to notch a win over the Las Vegas Wranglers on Saturday night.

The Condors followed Mann's prescription for victory to a T.

Michael Neal, Erik Burgdoerfer, and Gary Steffes had one goal apiece and Laurent Brossoit made 23 saves as Bakersfield won 3-1, improving to 5-2-0-0 against the Wranglers this season.

The Condors led 1-0 after the first period. Just one minute and 28 seconds into the period Neal tallied his 13th goal of the season, smacking a quick shot past Las Vegas goalie Travis Fullerton after the puck deflected out into the crease.

Burgdoerfer, who had two goals, including the game winner, in the Condors' 3-2 win over Colorado on Tuesday, made it 2-0 early in the third period with a hard slap shot from the right point.

Burgdoerfer's ninth goal of the season came with a man advantage, extending Bakersfield's streak of consecutive games with at least one power-play goal to eight.

After Las Vegas center Chad Nehring ruined Brossoit's shutout bid, scoring with 3:02 left in the game, Steffes added a late empty net goal to ensure the Condors' victory.

"One of the keys to our game tonight was the start," Mann said. "When you play a team that's struggling for wins you always want to get the jump-start on it. I thought our guys were really into it early.

"We didn't get as many goals as we would have liked but I thought we clearly dominated the play start to finish."

Bakersfield finished 1 of 3 on the power play. The Wranglers were held scoreless during their one and only time with a man advantage.

Chris Collins had a pair of assists for the Condors, giving him 19 for the season.

Brossoit, who came into the night with a stellar 1.81 goals-against average, stonewalled the Wranglers until a turnover near the redline allowed Nehring to get loose for a breakaway and score a shorthanded goal.

"He had a little bit of a down-stretch there for a couple of games but we always believe that he is going to make the save," Mann said of Brossoit. "His lateral movement is as good as I've seen.

"Quite frankly he's probably the best goalie in the league. He's going to play every night. We're gong to ride him. Where it takes us, we'll find out soon."

The Condors were very aggressive in the offensive zone early in the game, out-shooting the Wranglers 15-4.

The biggest highlight of a scoreless second period was a fight between Bakersfield's Wes Cunningham and Las Vegas' Matt Tassone.

Their skirmish drew the only penalty minutes served during the period. Later the Wranglers' John Armstrong was called for crosschecking but the period expired before he could escorted to the penalty box.

Both teams had several good scoring opportunities during the game's second 20-minute segment but failed to score.

The Condors return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Las Vegas to face the Wranglers.

The two Pacific Division rivals have seven remaining games against each other this season.

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