Condors

Saturday, May 24 2014 10:40 PM

Series tied after Condors dig early hole, fall to Aces

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Chris Collins of the Condors contends with Alaska's Evan Trupp (left) and Zach McKelvie (2) during the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  2. 2 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Chris Collins moves the puck against Alaska in the first period Saturday night. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  3. 3 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condors Chase Schaber and Joel Broda contend with Alaska's Jordan Morrison (44), James Martin (7) and Sean Curry (26) as they try to control the puck in the first period. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  4. 4 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Jordan Morrison of Alaska and Joel Broda of the Condors collide during the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  5. 5 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Joel Broda (19) flattens Alaska's Jordan Morrison (44) in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  6. 6 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Joel Broda (19) flattens Alaska's Jordan Morrison (44) in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  7. 7 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Alaska's Turner Elson (49) tries to move the puck in the first period Saturday against Eric Burgdoerfer and George Hughes. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  8. 8 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Greg Miller gets a chance in the first period, but is turned away by Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  9. 9 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Greg Miller gets a chance in the first period, but is turned away by Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  10. 10 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    The puck sails past Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman and defender Corey Syret as Condor Nick MacNeil (44) and Chris Collins work in front of the crease. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  11. 11 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Real estate is fought for in front of Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman by Condors Andrew Carroll (10) and Ryan Little (20) and Sean Curry (left) and Turner Elson (49) during the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  12. 12 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Andrew Carroll and Alaska's Alex Belzie work for position in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  13. 13 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor goalie Laurent Brossoit, Joey Leach (4), Gary Steffes (22) and Ace Alex Belzie (10) await a shot from John Ramage in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  14. 14 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Joe Marciano (6) defends against Alaska's Evan Trupp in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  15. 15 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Condor Joey Leach tries to clear Alaska's Alex Belzie from the crease and goalie Laurent Brossoit.Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  16. 16 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Nick Mazzolini has half the Condor net wide open as he scores the Aces' second goal in the first quarter. Condor goalie is Laurent Brossoit and defender is Erik Burgdoerfer. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Nick Mazzolini has half the Condor net wide open as he scores the Aces' second goal in the first quarter. Condor goalie is Laurent Brossoit and defender is Erik Burgdoerfer. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Evan Trupp of Alaska looks to move the puck against Gary Steffes of the Condors in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Gary Steffes of the Condors is tripped up by Kane Lafranchise of Alaska as he takes a shot against goalie Gerald Coleman in the first period. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Gary Steffes takes a shot for the Condors in the first period. He is surrounded by Alaska's Nick Mazzolini (42), Kane Lafranchise (6) and John Ramage (24). Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  21. 21 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Alaska's Nick Mazzolini blasts a slap shot into the Condor goal just 10 seconds into the game to give the Aces a quick 1-0 lead. Condor defender is George Hughes. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  22. 22 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    The Condors seemed to lose their composure after being stunned by three quick Alaska goals in the game's first five minutes. Here Collin Bowman (14) draws a penalty after flattening Alaska's John Ramage (24) to put the Aces on a two-man advantage power play. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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  23. 23 of 26

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Alaska's Nick Mazzolini (42) and John Ramage take off on one of their many rushes into the Condors zone during the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    John Ramage of Alaska (24) is shoved out of the way by Condor Andrew Carroll, who is trying to screen goalie Gerald Coleman. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Zach McKelvie of Alaska isn't able to stop and runs into Condors goalie Laurent Brossoit in the first period Saturday. Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Alaska celebrates their third goal of the first period, by Kane Lafranchise (6). Alaska scored three goals in the first 4:06 of the opening period, took the big Condors crowd out of the game and appeared headed to an easy victory. The Condors trailed 4-1 at the start of the third period.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

If the Condors are going to advance to the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals, they will have to do so in Anchorage, Alaska.

Whether they will be up a game or down a game in the ECHL Western Conference Finals will be determined tonight in Game 5 at Rabobank Arena.

Alaska scored three goals in the first four minutes of the game and went on to a 4-1 victory before 5,661 to even the series at two games apiece.

It was the first home-ice loss in seven postseason games for the Condors.

The game was a complete role reversal from 24 hours earlier when the Condors held a 3-0 first-period lead and won 5-4.

But unlike the Aces did the night before, the Condors could never climb back into the hockey game, though they played fairly well after a brutal start.

"We talked about it before the game; I knew they would come out with an extreme push," Condors coach Troy Mann said. "I'm not going to say we weren't focused or ready. It's playoff hockey. But they did get a break on the first goal. It did hit the referee on a pretty good forecheck (resulting in an odd-man rush). I'm sure that's one (Laurent Brossoit) wants back and it's 1-0. We had a little bit of letdown for two to three minutes."

Nick Mazzolini scored on the first shot of the night, just 13 seconds into the game, when his shot from the right circle beat Brossoit. Mazzolini made it 2-0 at 2:51 when he drove to the net and redirected a pass past a sliding Brossoit from the left edge of the net.

Kane Lafranchise then scored an easy power-play goal from the left edge at 4:06, prompting Mann to call a time out, during which he let his players know in no uncertain terms how unhappy he was.

The Condors settled down a bit after that, but the damage was done.

"I did like how we came back," Mann said. "I thought we had some great looks late in the first period on that power play. We did a real good job. (Gerald) Coleman made some key saves."

Coleman stopped 24 shots to get the win. The Aces have platooned goaltenders since the playoffs starts. If that trend continues, Olivier Roy, who gave up four goals (the Condors had an empty netter) on Friday night, would be in goal tonight.

Joel Broda brought the crowd back into the game midway through the second period, when he rifled in a one-timer for a power play goal to cut Alaska's lead to 3-1.

But Anchorage's Turner Elson sent a shot past Brossoit from the high slot at 15:30 as the Aces regained control. "I thought (Coleman) made a number of Grade A (saves) to keep it 3-1 then a bad break for us and there's the hockey game," Mann said.

While Coleman did make some quality saves, Mann was unhappy with how many quality chances the Condors had that never resulted in a shot on goal.

"I'd like to see us hit the net a little bit more," he said. "We had a number of Grade A opportunities in that slot area that we just even didn't hit the net. It's pretty hard to score goals if you're hitting the glass."

Both teams will be in for a long travel day back to Alaska on Monday for Tuesday's Game 6. Game 7, if necessary, will be Wednesday night.

But Mann said the Condors, as they have all season, are only focused on tonight.

"I just addressed the guys," he said "We're not going to look too far ahead here. We need to come back and play our best game of the playoffs (tonight) and refocus.

"I told the guys it stings right now. Take 10 minutes and think about it and then turn the page. Let's go to work and take the lead in the series and then we'll worry about next week."

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