Thunder Stunned by Bakersfield 7-2
The Thunder were unable to contain the Bakersfield Condors as their Pacific Division rival would storm away with a 7-2 win.
Bakersfield struck early and often in the first period as former Thunder forward Cameron Abney would find Andrew Carroll on a partial breakaway from the Thunder blueline. Carroll would walk in on Brian Foster, make a move, and put the Condors up just 2:33 into the game.
Jordan Knackstedt would be the next Bakersfield player to find some space as he was able to beat Foster just over two minutes later on an odd man rush. It wouldn’t be until the end of the period until the Condors scored again, but Ryan Watson would score on a backhand shot between Fosters pad, and the goal post, and then 15 seconds later, Condors captain Joel Broda would extend the Condors lead to 4-0.
However, the Thunder would finally get on the board just 37 seconds later when Mitch Bruijsten jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and make a nice pass to Joey Martin breaking into the zone. Martin stopped just before the farside circle, pulled up, and found Greg Miller who’d wrist his 9th goal of the season behind Bakersfields Laurent Brossoit. The teams would follow up the five goal first period by not scoring in the second, but early in the third period, Martin would tip a Mike Dalhuisen shot past Brossoit to cut the Thunder defecit to two goals.
Not too long after that goal, the Thunder thought they had charged back and cut the Condors lead to one as Brossoit misplayed a pass behind the net which was picked up by Miller and centered to Alex MacLeod. MacLeod put the puck behind Brossoit, but the referees converged in their crease to talk about the play. After the officials conference, it was determined that the goal would be disallowed.
It was difficult to tell what the call was, but after the game, Head Coach Rich Kromm shed some light on the call.
“The official said that the net was kicked off before the goal crossed the line,” explained Kromm. “The goaltender clearly kicked it off himself and if it was going to be disallowed, it should have resulted in a delay of game penalty in my opinion.”
That moment proved to be the biggest momentum shift in the game as instead of staring at a one goal Condors lead, they were still looking for two with the clock beginning to become an enemy.
In fact after that goal was disallowed, the Condors rattled off three more to finish the game off 7-2.
“We’re coming real good, bringing lots of pressure, and creating lots of chances, and we’d be staring at a 4-3 score…if that goal was allowed,” said Kromm. “After the call was made we didn’t do ourselves any favors as we played sloppy and didn’t give ourselves a chance.
Jordan Knackstedt, Ryan Little, and Joel Broda each finished with three points for the Condors. As for the Thunder, Martin continued his point streak as he has points in five-straight and with two assists tonight, Bruijsten now has 11 points in 11 games played with the Thunder this season.
“We want to move forward from this game, but it’s also important to make sure we understand why we lost tonight,” said Kromm. “We weren’t prepared for the first 10 minutes, and it was disappointing at then end when we became careless with the puck. Our team needs to understand that tomorrow night is going to be a battle, and we’ll have to be prepared to do the things that will make us successful. They know what those things are, we just have to do it.”
The Thunder don’t have long to stew over this loss as they travel down to Ontario to face the Reign tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. This game is the first meeting between the teams since the Thunder beat the Reign back on December 22nd. Tomorrow nights game also marks the final game on the Thunder’s current five-game roadtrip before making their way back to Stockton Arena for Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday against these same Condors, and a Sunday afternoon matinee against the San Francisco Bulls.