BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Condors coach Matt O'Dette didn't have anything to say to his team late Tuesday night, shunning the locker room after perhaps the most lackluster effort of the season.
Bakersfield managed just a season-low 18 shots and allowed one of the worst power play teams in the league to score three power play goals as the San Francisco Bulls left Rabobank Area with a 4-2 victory.
"Not much to say," O'Dette said of his reason in not addressing the team. "They're going to know (Wednesday) morning what I have to say. I'm speechless right now with the way we played. Tomorrow morning ... if guys don't work hard in the game we'll work hard in practice."
But working hard in practice, which is known as a bag skate and leaves players totally drained, is not likely to cure what ails the Condors.
They finished a four-game homestand 1-2-0-1, dropped to 5-9-1-2 overall and fell behind the Bulls in the Pacific Division.
There was no energy in the small crowd, announced at 3,061, but the dullness of the game likely attributed to that.
"We have to find a way to bring our energy and bring our life and we didn't have a heartbeat," O'Dette said. "Plain and simple. You gotta check some of these guys for a pulse to be honest with you. We'll find guys that want to play. Period."
Still, the Condors were in this one as the game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period.
The Condors generated four shots in the first six minutes then went 13 minutes before putting their next, and final, shot on Bulls goaltender Thomas Heemskerk.
By that time the Bulls had a 3-2 lead, thanks to their third power play goal -- this one by Sacha Guimond eight minutes into the period. A empty net goal by Dylan King with 16 seconds left sealed the win.
The Bulls came into the game connecting just 12. 5 percent of the time on power plays but connected on 75 percent of their chances against the Condors. The Condors were 0-for-3 on their power plays.
The special team play just magnified the overall trouble the Condors were having.
"You have to execute the game plan and play the right way," O'Dette said. "We didn't play the right way. We were turning pucks over. Weren't keeping it simple.
"The goal was to play in their end, simplify it through the neutral zone and make them play in the D-zone and wear them down. We were turning the puck over time and time again in the neutral zone and on line rush on entries. You can't do that."
The Bulls opened the scoring 5:37 into a lackluster first period when Peter Sivak scored a power play goal from the back door when a pass was threaded through the slot.
Alex Hudson drew the Condors even at the 12-minute mark when he skated in on a short-handed breakaway and beat Heemskerk from the hash marks of the right circle. The teams generated just 12 shots (six each) in the period which Hudson, during a between-period interview, called "really sluggish."
The Condors took a 2-1 lead 7:45 into the second period on a shot by defenseman Ryan Annesley that changed directions a couple of times. His shot from outside the circle went off a defenseman, bounced into and over Heemskerk and past the goal line for his first goal of the season.
The Condors nearly got out of the period with the lead intact but the Bulls drew even on a power-play goal with 10 seconds left as Dean Ouellet's shot just squeaked past Scott Greenham.
The Condors head to Stockton on Friday night to face the Thunder. Bakersfield is 0-2-1 against Stockton.
The Condors return to Rabobank Arena on Saturday night to face Ontario in the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Fans are asked to brings stuffed animals to the game and toss them onto the ice after Bakersfield's first goal. The stuffed animals go to various charities. Onario, the top team in the Western Conference, just signed Los Angeles Kings tough-guy Kyle Clifford.