BAKERSFIELD, CA– Everything was going well for the Texas Stars in the first 40 minutes of their game Thursday night against the Bakersfield Condors.
Then, the third period happened.
The Condors lit the lamp five times in the game’s final 20 minutes to take a 5-2 win over the Stars.
Eddie Pasquale was big for the Condors, as he allowed just two Brian Flynn goals in 33 Texas shots. Ty Rattie would take over in the third, as the former NHLer had a hat trick and an assist to lead the third period charge for Bakersfield. Texas is now 5-4-0-1 on the campaign.
The game could not have started any better for the Stars, as they immediately grabbed a 1-0 lead. Just 1:33 into the opening period Travis Morin forced a turnover deep in the Bakersfield zone. He instantly whipped a pass to a wide-open Flynn, who’s point-blank one-timer found the back of the net.
The Stars would keep the Condors under pressure for the majority of the opening period, outshooting them 13-5. Pasquale would stand tall though, and keep the score under control for the Condors. We went to the first intermission level at one.
The second period would be a closer period, as the shots were just 10-8 Stars in the frame. Mike McKenna made a few big saves when called upon, and the defense would limit Bakersfield to one shot and done. Flynn would once again score the only goal of the frame, albeit in controversial fashion. 7:34 into the second Dillon Heatherington fired a shot that Flynn tipped into the net. Initially, the ref ruled it too high, but after a discussion, it was ruled legal. It was Flynn’s second of the night, and third of the year.
Both teams would have chances in the last 10 minutes of the second, but each goalie made a few big saves to keep it 2-0 Texas after 40 minutes.
It was a dominant performance thru two for Texas, leading in shots 23-13. The Stars did a great job on the forecheck, and cycling the puck in the zone. The defense was good as well, consistently blocking passes and shots. It was good to see, and could be a sign of good things in the future. Unfortunately on this night, however, 20 minutes remained.
The third period was an avalanche of offense from the Condors, led by the aforementioned Rattie. The former St. Louis Blues forward was a lethal force, tallying a hat trick and an assist in the third.
He started it out with a strong assist, as he drove hard to the net forcing a stretch save from McKenna. The rebound laid loose, though, and Joey LaLeggia flicked it home to cut the score to 2-1. Rattie then tied the game himself with 11:11 remaining with a power play one-timer from the right circle. It was the first of two similar power play goals on the night from him. You could see the ice tilting hard towards the Texas zone, and only 3:20 later it was 3-2 Condors. It would be Joe Gambardella who slid one past McKenna from in close for the eventual game-winner.
The Stars tried to stem the tide, but it was not to be on this night. They would take a penalty, and Rattie blasted home his second power-play goal of the night with 5:53 to go to extend the lead to 4-2. The Stars pulled McKenna with 3:23 to go, and it didn’t take long for the puck to find the empty net. Rattie would finish his hat trick, and the scoring, as he fired it in from his zone with 3:09 left to make it 5-2.
With the loss, the Stars fall to 5-4-0-1 on the season and 1-3-0-0 on the road. They will have another opportunity on the road Saturday, as the California road trip continues in Stockton against the Heat.
You can follow along Saturday, and all season long, by following @SinBinStars on Twitter. We live tweet every game!
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