Friday, Mar 11 2011 11:35 PM

Condors rally past Idaho

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Condor defenseman Jay Cascalenda appears to use a Steelhead stick in addition to his own as he goes for a loose puck.

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Idaho's Chris Hepp has position on Condor Erick Lizon as they both g for the puck in the first period at Rabobank Arena

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Bakersfield's Jay Cascalenda takes control of the puck near the Condor goal as Idaho's Cody Purves follows.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH, Californian staff writer

Having yielded three power-play goals on six chances and trailing 4-2, the Condors got back to basics Friday night at Rabobank Arena.

The end result was a stirring third-period comeback as the Bakersfield Condors scored three unanswered goals for a 5-4 victory over the Idaho Steelheads before an electrified crowd of 6,811.

The victory was the fourth straight for the Condors, their ninth in 11 games, and perhaps their most unlikely given a second-period performance, where a 2-1 lead turned into a 4-2 deficit.

"It was a tumultuous game and we had a great comeback, which is good for the whole team," Condors coach Marty Raymond said.

The momentum turned in a span of 87 seconds midway through the third period, starting at the 10:01 mark, when Bobby Robins finished a nice tic-tac-toe passing play with a power-play goal to make it 4-3.

Jean-Marc Beaudoin scored his fifth goal of the season and first in 12 games 1:27 later when his shot while falling to the ice tied the game.

"The biggest goal was from (the third) line, Beaudoin, Lizon and Gergen," Raymond said. "They're the ones that crashed the net and scored the equalizer."

Andrew Ianiero scored the game-winner on a power play a minute and 43 seconds after the tying goal, off assists from Stephane Goulet and Beaudoin.

But the work was far from done.

Robins was assessed a double-minor penalty with 6:37 remaining, giving the potent Idaho power play, which came into the game connecting 25 percent of the time, another golden opportunity.

This time the Bakersfield penalty killers allowed just two shots on goaltender Brian Stewart, despite the Steelheads pulling their goaltender with 3:39 left for an extended 6-on-4 advantage.

"That showed some character," Raymond said. "Guys were stepping up, the D was great and the goaltending was good."

The game started off badly for the Condors when the puck took a strange bounce off the Zamboni entrance as Stewart left his crease to play it. The puck slid clear through the slot and onto the tick of Junior Lessard who fired it into a wide-open net for a power-play goal 2 minutes into the game.

The Condors stormed back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Guillaume Lefebvre at 8:10 and Adam Naglich at 15:03, but all that hard work went for naught when the Condors allowed the Steelheads three more power-play chances in the second period.

Geoff Irwin scored a power-play goal at 4:03, Aki Seitsonen added an even-strength goal at 13:32 and Mark Derlago netted a power-play goal with 11 seconds left in the period.

That led to a locker room chat by Raymond.

"(In) our game plan we have three things: Discipline, physicality and establish a good forecheck and there's no way we're going to be able to do any of those things if we're in the box taking some doozies and we did that," Raymond said. "We took some bad penalties, kicked ourselves in the butt and paid the price against the best power play in the league.

"I told the guys, 'if you want to win a championship we have to start playing like a championship team every game and stop taking bad penalties.' Guys understood that was probably our worst period over the last two weeks and that's going to happen. Sometimes you cross the edge and we did that."


* The Condors traded the rights to Brad Snetsinger (currently in the AHL with Binghamton) to the Florida Everblades for the rights to Francis Lemieux (currently with the Connecticut Whale in the AHL). Lemieux is second in the ECHL in scoring, with 73 points (28 goals, 45 assists) in just 56 games. He was signed to an AHL deal by the Whale last week. Last season, Lemieux recorded nine goals and 12 points in 13 games with the Las Vegas Wranglers, while also playing in the AHL with Grand Rapids and in Austria. "With Francis we have an opportunity to have one of the best players in the ECHL play for us," said Raymond, who also indicated Lemieux would not make it to Bakersfield until after Connecticut's season has concluded. The Whales are currently in the final playoff spot in their conference.

* Tonight is the much-publicized Charlie Sheen night. Still no word if Mr. Sheen plans to attend ... The Condors will don special St. Patrick's Day jerseys for tonight's game which will be auctioned off following the game.

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