BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Despite five total goals, it was the goalies who shined in Friday night’s opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. In a battle of two Calder Cup playoff first-timers, the Condors got the last laugh as Bakersfield defeated Colorado 3-2.
The Condors and Eagles saw each other eight times throughout the year and needed very little feeling out time in game one. Within five minutes, both teams had recorded four shots as Pavel Francouz and Shane Starrett began their tough evenings in net.
Shortly after, at 9:17 in the first, Brad Malone scored the first goal in Condors Calder Cup history, a slick redirect in front of Francouz.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) April 20, 2019
The Condors controlled the game well following the ice-breaking goal, only allowing a couple of quality scoring chances for the Eagles the remainder of the first period.
Bakersfield carried its 1-0 lead to the first intermission, outshooting Colorado 12-11.
The teams began the second playing 4-on-4 hockey after coincidental minors at the end of the first on Andrew Agozzino and Ethan Gust.
Mark Alt came out firing in period two, finding an equalizing goal just 55 seconds in, beating Starrett on his left side. Alt’s goal marked the first in Colorado’s Calder Cup playoff history.
After another case of coincidental minors, William Lagesson reinstated Bakersfield’s one-goal lead at 6:30 off a pretty pass by Caleb Jones.
Once again, the Condors held consistent possession and flow for the remainder of the period, taking a 2-1 lead to the second intermission.
Minutes into the third, the Eagles appeared to have evened the game at two. However, it only took the referees 30 seconds to overturn the goal. Directly before Colorado buried the puck, Starrett was charged into and unable to play the puck; an easy goal to overturn.
As the teams reset, Colorado put its foot on the throttle once again, flooding Starrett with quality chances. At 5:48 of the third, Starrett made a save from a zero angle to his right, hugging the puck to the post. When no whistle came, the Eagles rushed the net, knocking Starrett over. As he fell back, the puck fell across the line as well. David Warsofsky was credited with the goal and this one would stand. It was two-all.
As they did earlier in the game, the Condors responded well and fast. Just 45 second later, Logan Day scored the eventual game-winner off a beautiful feed by Joe Gambardella.
The Condors slowed their game play after the goal, moving the puck with more precision and caution, but the Eagles were able to get the home team to make a potentially costly mistake. At 11:19, Colorado would get its first and only power play in the game.
After two long and hard-fought minutes, the Condors killed the penalty and eliminated the last couple of chances Colorado would have.
On the other end of the ice, Francouz kept his team in the game with three major game-saving saves in the last ten minutes of the game.
However, Bakersfield finished off the game winning 3-2 while being outshot 28-23.
Both teams recorded six minutes of penalty time and were unsuccessful on their only power plays of the night.
Malone and Patrick Russell each finished with two points (1G, 1A each) for the Condors. A.J. Greer recorded two points for Colorado with a goal and assist of his own.
Starrett was credited with the win after providing 26 saves on 28 shots. Francouz had 20 saves on 23 shots in the loss.
Bakersfield and Colorado continue their Calder Cup quests on Saturday night for game two in Colorado. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. MT.
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