Condors

Wednesday, Mar 13 2013 10:49 PM

Stewart, Freeman lift Condors

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Condors # 83 Jacob Lagace and Utah's # 15 Gaelan Patterson chase down the puck in the 1st period of their Wednesday night game.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Bakersfield Condors celebrate after scoring a 1st period goal against Utah Wednesday night.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Condors #25 Jake Morley tries to redirect a rebound coming off of Utah's goalkeeper in the 1st period Wednesday night.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    The Condors # 12 Deron Cousens takes control of the puck in their game against Utah earlier in 2013.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

The Condors did what they had to on Wednesday night to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Brian Stewart stopped 42 shots in 65 minutes of hockey then stopped all five Utah shooters he faced in a shootout as the Condors beat the Grizzlies 2-1 at Rabobank Arena.

"Stewy was great," Condors coach Matt O'Dette said. "He has been all season, especially the last month or so. This is his time of year, when he steps up his game and he was great tonight."

It was a much needed win for the Condors but 250 miles to the north, the San Francisco Bulls were doing their best to keep the Condors in their rear-view mirror.

The Bulls moved a step closer to eliminating Bakersfield from playoff contention with a 7-2 win in Stockton. San Francisco's magic number for clinching is six points.

The Condors have seven games remaining while the Bulls have eight. Bakersfield and San Francisco meet two more times, but not until the final week of the season.

No matter what the Condors do, they are going to have to have some help from other teams beating San Francisco to make those games meaningful.

"We just have to win. And win, win, win," O'Dette said. "I don't know what the calculations are. We're just going to leave the scoreboard be and take care of our own business."

Ensuring the Condors took care of their business on Wednesday night were Scott Freeman and Stewart.

Freeman opened the scored 11:09 into the game with a power-play goal and he finished it as the lone player among nine skaters to score in the shootout.

"It was big," Freeman said of the win. "We just have to take it one game at a time. We have Utah on Friday. Every point is huge now. We got two tonight and we need two on Friday."

Bakersfield nursed the early 1-0 until Utah's leading scorer, Colin Vock, tied the game on his 23rd goal 6:38 into the third.

Stewart and Utah goaltender Ben Meisner, making his pro debut, combined to stop 77 shots.

"I thought we played a helluva a lot better than the last game against Ontario (a 1-0 loss on Saturday night," Stewart said. "Their goalie played great for his first pro game, coming out of college. I thought we both played good. Me and the goalie at the other end."

Notes

Condors goaltender Scott Geenham will loaned to the St. Johns (Newfoundland) IceCaps of the American Hockey League today. "We want our guys called up and (Greenham) obviously deserves it," Condors coach Matt O'Dette said. "He's getting recognition for his play."

Greenham is the third player to go the AHL this season. The others were forward Jacob Lagace and Nicholas Tremblay.

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