Condors

Friday, Dec 14 2012 10:57 PM

Condors can't hold early two-goal lead

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Bakersfield's Levi Nelson manages to push the puck to a teamate and away from Idaho's goalie Josh Robinson and Sam Carrick and John Ryder in the first period of the Condor's home game at Rabobank Arena on Friday night.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Bakersfield's Francis Meilleur, left, and teammates Levi Nelson and Jacob Lagace celebrate the Condor's second goal of the night as they jumped out to an early lead against Idaho at home at Rabobank Arena on Friday night.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Bakersfield's Scott Enders and Idaho's John Ryder are kept from each other by officials at the end of the first period of the Condor's home game on Friday night at Rabobank Arena on Friday night.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

The quickest start this season wasn't near enough for the Bakersfield Condors on Friday night.

Bakersfield scored two goals in the first 1 minute, 28 seconds, only to have the Idaho Steelheads dominate the final two periods and roll to a 5-2 win before 4,585 at Rabobank Arena.

To be fair, the Steelheads are on a roll. The win was their ninth in 11 games as they ran their record to 18-5-1-2.

And the Condors, who started the game short one defenseman because of injury, played all but the first three minutes down two defensemen after Ryan Annesley left the game after he was hit from behind by Andrew Carroll.

The game magnified the difference between one team (Idaho) loaded with players that might be in the American Hockey League were it not for the NHL lockout and another team (Bakersfield) with only a couple of assigned players.

The Steelheads (with 11 players assigned to them) are on the level of the early 2009-10 Condors. That's the year the Anaheim Ducks did not have an AHL affiliate and loaded the Condors (who started 18-7-2 that season) with players.

But Condors coach Matt O'Dette said it was more of the Condors (7-15-1-2) failing to perform at an acceptable level.

"We stopped playing the way that got us success in the first period," O'Dette said. "We went from a team playing the team game to playing the individual game. When you do that, that's what happens. When you have success you keep doing what you had success with for the team. For the team."

Defenseman Scott Enders scored his first professional goal 51 seconds into the game when he fired the puck at the net from just outside the Idaho blue line and watched as it trickled thorough Josh Robinson's pads. Thirty-seven seconds later, the Condors had a two-goal lead after Levi Nelson scored his team-high eighth goal from the low slot off a feed from Jacob Lagace.

Then came a dominating second period by the best team in the ECHL Western Conference.

Hubert Labrie cut Bakersfield's lead in half 1:10 into the period during 4-on-4 play when he rifled a shot past Scott Greenham from the left circle. Jeremie Blain tied the game with a power-play goal when a deflected puck hit the skate of Condor defenseman Francis Meilleur and trickled over the goal line.

Tristan King scored on a shot through traffic to put the Steelheads up 3-2 at 15:40, and 16 seconds later David de Kastrozza ripped a shot past Greenham on an odd-man rush. As a final dagger, Austin Fyten scored a short-handed goal 7:32 into the third.

Notes

Defenseman Ryan Annesley wore a sling on his right arm following the game. Condors coach Matt O'Dette said Annesley would be out of action for "quite a while." ... Team U.S.A. Beach volleyball silver medalists April Ross and Jen Kessy will be on hand tonight, posing for pictures at the Condors photo booth. ... Former NHL player and current Los Angeles Kings radio color commentator Daryl Evans will join Ryan Holt on tonight's broadcast.

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