Bakersfield Surge Past Stars

The Bakersfield Condors (20-13-2-2) put up three unanswered goals to skate past the Texas Stars (21-16-2-1) by a final score of 5-to-3.   Special teams failed Texas, yielding three goals while claiming but one. 

Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham clearly admitted the short comings, “ I don’t think we were a good-enough hockey team today.  Both special team, five-on-five, we failed to execute what we wanted to do.   Our execution in general wasn’t to a standard that it needs to be.” 

Texas’ special teams execution failed both on penalty plays and penalty kills.  The Stars gave up two goals when they were down a skater.  Two goals were score on Texas’s four man-advantage opportunities, one by Texas and one by Bakersfield.  A four-minute double minor against the Condors look more like a Bakersfield power play with two break-aways against goaltender Matt Murray. 

“Our power play’s been excellent, top of the league all year.  At the end of the day, we’ve had a trend lately.  What’s it really about?” said Graham. 

Texas has given up eight short-handed goals on the season, near the top of the league. 

The night should have been a happy occasion being Stars’ goaltender Matt Murray’s birthday.  The game also saw the return of defenseman Ben Gleason and net-minder Jack Campbell, now playing with Bakersfield. 

The opening frame saw a flurry of activity.  Texas’ Kyle McDonald netted the game’s first goal just six minutes into the contest.  Bakersfield’s Xavier Bourgault responded five minutes later with a short-handed goal.  The team’s traded power play goals from Matej Blumel and Greg McKegg to end the first period tied at two goals each. 

The Stars’ two goals in the first period on just four shots-on-goal.  The team’s offensive output was anemic, producing just another six shots in the middle period, before opening it up in the final period with 14 shots. 

The Condors out-shot Texas 38-to-24. 

Texas aggressively started the second period, scoring just two minutes in off the stick of Christian Kyrou to re-claim the lead. However, the remainder of the period, and the game, belonged to Bakersfield. 

Max Warnner tied the game, again, for Bakerfield eight minutes later.  The Condors grabbed the lead for the first time on Seth Griffith’s power play goal. 

Bakersfield’s final goal came against an empty net in the final seconds. 

“We compounded mistakes, and that’s usually frustration based,” said Graham. “If we let frustration trickle in because we expect results or force things, that’s what happens.” 

Bakersfield’s Olivier Rodrigue (9-4-4) earned the win, making 21 saves on 24 shots.  Texas’ Matt Murray (9-9-1) suffered the loss, allowing four goals against 37 shots. 

“We’re not happy with how we played.  We’re going to respond accordingly,” said Graham. “We need to look in the mirror after tomorrow night’s game.” 

The Stars and the Condors play against Saturday night.   

Graham pragmatically closed the post-game press conference saying, “We’ve done enough talking, as of late. It’s time to start walking the walk, a bit.  And respond according.”   

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