BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
STOCKTON -- For Condors coach Troy Mann and his players, it's all about belief.
Trailing 1-0 in the third period on Friday night and time ticking down, the Condors never panicked, scoring two late goals to beat the Thunder 2-1 and take a 3-1 lead in ECHL Western Conference Semifinal The Condors can wrap up the series tonight in Stockton, which would put them into the Conference Finals for the first time in team history.
"You need to believe and when you believe you can win the hockey game
and win a championship that's what happens," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "It may not happen every night for you but if you stick with it, stick to the plan, good things will happen."
Jordan Knacksted tied the game with just under eight minutes left when he put in a rebound from the right edge of the net for a power-play goal after Broda shot on Foster off the draw.
Then, Ryan Watson outmuscled a Stockton player to gain puck possession in the Thunder zone to set up the winning goal. The Thunder regained possession but Broda ended up with the puck near the blue line, turned and fired a low shot that went by Foster with 1:39 remaining.
"Going into the third we knew we just had to keep it up, we'd get our chances," Broda said. "We were able to bear down on the power-play there, then just kind of a quick shot on net, caught the goalie off guard and we're up 2-1 and we're taking Game 4 here. We're pretty excited."
Laurent Brossoit, who allowed five goals on Wednesday night, stopped 29 shots to get the win. His counterpart, Brian Foster, stopped 26 shots.
"I had a lot of motivation to come out (strong), Brossoit said. "(Wednesday) I felt I was a little bit lazy in the net, a little bit casual. It was definitely a wake-up call for me to not be complacent in the net and I got back on track."
The Condors were pressing in the Stockton zone when the Thunder started a quick transition that led to their only goal during the second period.
Two Condor players went down near the Stockton goal line and when the Thunder gained puck possession they shifted into high gear.
Defenseman Marc Cantin jumped up into the play to make it a 3-on2 rush and drove to the right edge of the net where he took a pass and bear Brossoit with a high shot at 10:10.
Four minutes earlier Brossoit had kept the game scoreless when he made a point-blank save on Ryan Hayes.
The Condors has a lot of sustained offensive zone time in in the period and generated some good scoring chances.
The Condors has a great chance to score on their first power play of the game three minutes into the game but Broda sent a quick shot wide with a mostly-open net in front of him.
Chris Collins had a chance for a short-handed goal about three minutes later, but sent the shot right into Foster's pads.
Once again, Brossoit had the best save of the period as he stopped Joey's Martin's point-blank shot from the low shot with six minutes left.