BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
A game against arguably the hottest team in the ECHL was not the thing the Bakersfield Condors needed to end an early-season winless streak.
The Florida Everblades jumped out to a 6-0 second-period lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the Condors on Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 4,354 at Rabobank Arena.
Florida, the highest scoring team in the ECHL, scored on six of its first 19 shots on goal to take control of the game well before the final period even started.
The loss leaves the Condors winless through the first four games of a season for the first time in their existence.
The meeting with Florida is the Condors only game against an Eastern Conference opponent this season.
The Condors' first goal came with 19:18 left in the third period when Louke Oakley took a pass behind the net from Michael Neal, and deftly slotted the puck past Everblades goalie Jesse Deckert.
Roughly seven minutes later, Wes Cunningham beat Deckert with a high wrist shot from the right point for the game's final goal.
But by that time the game was well out of hand.
Despite falling behind 3-0 early, the Condors matched Florida 8-8 in first period shots on goal.
"I liked our start," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "I thought we were competing. I thought we were right in the game. A couple mistakes ... Obviously it's a team game, but I didn't think our goaltending was sharp again tonight. And consequently when you make mistakes you fall behind the eight-ball. When a team is struggling like we are to generate some offense, usually it kind of snowballs and that's what happened."
Florida had four special-teams goals, including one shorthanded.
The Condor's were 0-for-7 on the power play.
Leading 3-0, the Everblades got second-period goals from Matthew Pistilli, Kyle Bonis and Danick Gauthier to ensure their fourth win in four games this season.
Gauthier had two goals, giving him three for the season.
Bonis, coming off a hat trick Friday, notched his fifth goal of the season to make it 5-0 with 7:19 left in the second period.
The Condors came out aggressively on the offensive end to start things off, taking the game's first four shots on goal.
But it was Florida that led 3-0 at the end of first period after a pair of goals in quick succession midway through the period by AJ Jenks and Gauthier, plus a late shorthanded score by Brandon MacLean.
MacLean's goal came on a one-on-one breakaway after Deckert cleared the puck off the sideboards and it took a funny bounce right to the Florida forward alone near center-ice.
The Everblades had just one first period power play but they converted it into a goal when Mike Cornell fired a slot pass down low to the bottom of the right circle that Gauthier banged into the back of the net.
Jenks' goal, his first of the season, was a hard-wrist shot from from the top of the left circle on a rebound of a Mike Little shot attempt.
The Condors are now off until Friday when they begin a run of three game in three days at the Alaska Aces.