BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer email@example.com
Sometimes you just have to win ugly.
That was the case for the Condors on Tuesday night at Rabobank Arena as the Condors snapped a two-game losing streak with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Las Vegas Wranglers.
The Condors had their way with the Wranglers throughout most of the first period and led 1-0 thanks to the first of two goals from Greg Miller.
The Wranglers dominated the second period, but the Condors emerged with a 2-1 lead.
Las Vegas tied the game 7:16 into the second on a power-play goal by Eddie DelGrosso and were outshooting the Condors 9-0 at that time.
Two Bakersfield shots later, the Condors were back in front for good as Miller scored a power-play goal from low in the right circle off a feed from George Hughes.
"Hughesy made a phenomenal pass there," Miller said. "He dragged everyone to him, including the goalie, and all I had to do was put it into the open net. It was a nice little gift there from Hughesy."
The Wranglers kept the pressure on but the Condor struck late as a quick up-ice rush led to forward Nick MacNeil, playing in his first pro game, banging in his first goal from the edge of the crease with 36 seconds left.
"I thought we got away from our game plan a little and certainly it showed," Millers said of the second. "We didn't get puck in deep. We made some unforced turnovers.
"They're a good transition team and they showed it there. We were on our heels a little bit."
The Condors were out shot 13-5 in the period as goaltender Laurent Brossoit (who finished with 28 saves) was kept plenty busy.
"I thought LB kept us in there in the second," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "No doubt it was one of our worst periods in a long time."
The Wranglers made it interesting in the final minutes, pulling goaltender Travis Fullerton for a two-man advantage, and getting a power-play goal from Robert Smith with 1:32 left.
"I think we responded in the third, which was great," Miller said. "It's good to see going down the stretch that you can count on us to turn it around.
"You'll take a win however you can get it."
The Condors had lost four of their last five, but have started a stretch of five games in eight days off with a crucial win as they try to climb above seventh in the ECHL Western Conference.
"It's huge," Miller said of the win. "Whenever you can get a win off a couple of losses it's huge for the confidence. We have a big week coming up here with home-and-home against Ontario, then these guys again on Sunday in Vegas then come back here on Tuesday for Alaska.
"These are big games for us. To move up in the standings we need to win these games."
The Condors are one points ahead of-sixth place Stockton, but Stockton has played two fewer games and has a higher winning percentage.
Mann said with 12 games left, the goal is just to get as high in the standings as possible and to be playing well as the regular season ends.
"I think we just want to play some good hockey down the stretch because it's very difficult to turn it on and off going into playoffs," he said. "I just want to make sure the team is ready and playing our best going into playoffs. If that means winning a bunch of hockey games down the stretch, and if we do finish third through sixth, we'lll take whatever spot we finish.