BY MIKE GRIFFITH, Californian staff writer email@example.com
STOCKTON -- Forty-eight hours after an impressive victory, the Condors laid an egg Friday night at Stockton Arena.
The Thunder scored four goals in a span of 10 minutes over the first and second periods en route to a 6-2 victory and a commanding 3-1 lead in the National Conference semifinal playoff series.
The Condors now must win Game 5 tonight in Stockton to stay alive and bring the series back to Bakersfield.
"We got outplayed, we got out hustled," Condors coach Marty Raymond said. "We did not play the game we wanted to play. We had a poor effort tonight and we'll be better tomorrow night.
"Now were under the gun because those two games (at home) were lost in overtime. We can't go out and think we're going to have an average first period and win on the road. We're playing for our season."
Stockton was better in all aspects of the game, especially in winning battles along the boards which directly to Stockton's fourth and fifth goals.
"That's the game tonight," Raymond said. "We lost too many battles. I'm not being too generous by saying 75 percent of the battles they won on the boards. You can't do that. You can't give them that advantage. We just played like we thought we were going to win tonight with no problem."
J.P. Levasseur, who stopped 36 shots in a 3-0 win Wednesday night, stopped the first 10 he saw on Friday night, but gave up five goals on the next 10 shots.
"I thought J.P was great in net," Raymond said. "It was certainly not his fault. I don't think we came out to play a playoff game. We had too many guys tentative and too many guys didn't finish checks. We didn't pay the price and they did. I think the score reflects exactly what happened in the course of this game."
Despite being outplayed in the first period, the Condors were locked in a scoreless tie until a Thunder 2-on-1 rush resulted in a Matt Robinson goal with a minute left in the period.
"That was an important goal for us and it really got us going," Thunder coach Matt Thomas said.
The Thunder had a 2-0 lead 53 seconds into the second period when Stockton caught Bakersfield in a line change, which resulted in Oren Eizenman breaking in alone and beating Levasseur.
Defenseman Bryan Young came in trailing on an odd-man rush and scored on a rebound to the slot at 4:46 to make it 3-0.
The Condors appeared ready to claw their way back into the game when Stephane Goulet hammered in the puck from the left edge of the net at 7:04.
But the Thunder ended any doubt as to the outcome of this one Chris D'Alvise lifted the puck over left leg pad Levasseur and watched it drop just inside the net at 9:55. Jason Pitton finished a four-goal second-period when he came off the boards and scored with a minute left.
Eric Regan scored a power-play goal for the Condors midway through the third period and Matt Marquardt added an empty-netter with 1:10 remaining.
"I'm confident we'll come back, have a great effort, get a W and bring it back home," Raymond said. "You win, you lose, you have to regroup. There's not much to be said. I think the guys will be ready. There will be a few changes in the lineup and that's that."
If the Condors win tonight Game 6 will be in Bakersfield on Tuesday and Game 7, if necessary, in Bakersfield on Wednesday night.
Nick Kemp, Erick Lizon and Matt McCue did not play in Friday night's game.
Ryan Menei had his three-game goal-scoring streak snapped.