BAKERSFIELD, Ca. – In his AHL debut, the Edmonton Oilers’ 2018 first round pick Evan Bouchard scored three points in the Bakersfield Condors 5-2 win over the Colorado Eagles. The Condors now lead the series 2-1 with a chance to clinch the series Saturday night.
The Condors got things started quickly, scoring on their first powerplay chance of the night. After Michael Joly took a penalty for tripping, Bakersfield spent most of the powerplay time ironing out its offense. With just seconds remaining on the man advantage, Ryan Stanton fired one from the top of the zone to break the ice in game three. Collecting assists on the play were Bouchard, his first career AHL point, and Evan Polei.
The Condors would control the entirety of the first period, outshooting the Eagles 17-1.
Bakersfield hit the ground running in the second, quickly doubling the lead at 5:34. The goal was Joe Gambardella‘s first of the playoffs.
The Condors fed off of the momentum as Polei scored his first goal of the playoffs at 7:14. Bouchard and Stanton both earned assists, their second points of the night.
After this goal, however, it was the Eagles who found momentum. Just 16 seconds later, Anton Lindholm scored, his first of the playoffs.
The second period red light special did not end there, though, as Bouchard scored his first AHL goal minutes later at 10:30, a rocket from the top of the zone.
Bakersfield fueled themselves on the fourth goal, controlling the next few shifts well. After a hard shot by Keegan Lowe, Polei found a rebound in front of Pavel Francouz and buried it for his second of the night.
Bakersfield, who believed it had a comfortable 5-1 lead heading into the intermission sat back and got caught with 13 seconds left, as Sheldon Dries put away his first of the playoffs, giving Colorado some life.
After two, the Condors led 5-2 while outshooting the Eagles 35-10.
The third period was one of the most lackluster periods of the entire series, a couple of post-whistle pushing and shoving spats being the only intense action of the period.
The Condors carried their 5-2 lead to the end and outshot Colorado 41-18 in the game.
In the end, Bouchard had three points (1G, 2A) in his AHL debut while Polei also had three points (2G, 1A). Luke Esposito also had two assists for the Condors. Shane Starrett earned the win after stopping 16 of 18 Eagles shots. Francouz allowed five goals on 41 Bakersfield shots, earning the loss.
Bakersfield can clinch the series and punch their ticket to round two on Saturday night. Game four has a scheduled puck drop for 7:05 PT in Bakersfield.