Bakersfield climbs into tie for final playoff spot with Stockton
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Condors moved into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the National Conference over the weekend, thanks in large part to a pair of victories on the road against the Utah Grizzlies on Thursday and Saturday. G Yutaka Fukufuji made his return from the Injured Reserve on Thursday and guided Bakersfield to both wins in Utah.
The Condors are 16-26-9 on the season and tied for 3rd place in the Pacific Division with the Stockton Thunder. The Condors and Thunder trail the Phoenix RoadRunners, who hold 7th place in the National Conference, by just one point. Bakersfield hosts Stockton Saturday night at The Nest, and will play two more games against both the Thunder and RoadRunners this season.
WEEK IN REVIEW (Home team in CAPS):
Tuesday, Feb. 12
Las Vegas 7 vs. CONDORS 3
RW Andrew Ianiero tallied three assists for Bakersfield, and the Condors received goals from F Sean Venedam, LW Evan Kotsopoulos and C Steve Slonina, who played as a defenseman for most of the game. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak against the Wranglers for Bakersfield.
Thursday, Feb. 14
Condors 7 vs. UTAH 6 (SO)
Bakersfield twice came back from multiple-goal deficits to eventually prevail in a shootout, 7-6, in the series opener in Utah. LW Mark Derlago scored his second of the night with just 10.8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. RW Andrew Ianiero also tallied twice and added an assist. Bakersfield received goals from four of their five shooters in the shootout.
Friday, Feb. 15
UTAH 2 vs. Condors 1
Utah and Bakersfield traded first period tallies, but a shorthanded goal in the second frame regained the lead for the Grizzlies and carried them to the win. G Michel Robinson stopped 35 shots in the loss and RW Jason Kostadine scored the lone Condors goal. Condors F Sean Venedam left the game in the third period after suffering a broken leg.
Saturday, Feb. 16
Condors 3 vs. UTAH 1
The Condors held the Grizzlies scoreless until the final minutes of the game, and battled for a 3-1 victory in Utah. F Tim Konsorada scored twice on the power play and RW Todd Griffith also lit the lamp for Bakersfield in the win. G Yutaka Fukufuji made a season-high 48 saves for the Condors, who moved into a tie for eighth place in the conference with the win.
Monday, Feb. 18
LAS VEGAS 4 vs. Condors 3
The Condors erased a two-goal deficit midway through the second frame with consecutive tallies from D Kevin Truelson and D Martin Kubaliak, knotting the score at 2-2. Las Vegas pulled ahead again with a pair of third-period goals before Truelson hammered home his second of the night as part of a furious last-minute comeback attempt that came up just short. Despite the setback, the Condors did not lose ground in the playoff race and remained tied with Stockton for the final spot.
The Condors placed F Sean Venedam on the 30-day IR on Saturday. He underwent surgery Friday night and will miss the remainder of the season. Venedam is the third Condors player to suffer a season-ending injury, joining D Scotty Balan and C Mike Hofstrand, who are both on the 30-day IR as well.
RW Andrew Ianiero tallied back-to-back three-point efforts this week. He has 13 points (3g-10a) in his last nine games and was the Condors nominee for In Glas Co ECHL Player of the Week.
Thursday's game was the first shootout victory in eight tries for the Condors this season.
RW Brett Lutes had a five-game assist streak snapped on Friday night. He had seven assists in the stretch, which was tied for the second-longest of the season for the Condors. In his last eight games, Lutes has recorded 11 points (2g-9a).
LW Mark Derlago has scored nine goals in his last nine games.
C Tim Konsorada has tallied 10 points (4g, 6a) in his last nine games.
The Condors signed D Martin Kubaliak on Thursday and he suited up in all three games in Utah. Kubaliak, 22, scored his first goal as a Condor and first in the ECHL Monday night in Las Vegas. He played in the Central Hockey League this season prior to joining the Condors.
D Kevin Truelson is tied for the league lead among ECHL defensemen with 12 goals and three game-winning goals. He is also tied for second among blueliners with 37 points and seven power-play tallies.
G Yutaka Fukufuji made his first start on Thursday since being placed on the Injured Reserve on Feb 1. In three starts since returning, he has made 110 saves en route to a 2-1-0 record.
RW Chris Di Ubaldo (3-day IR) and D Reagan Leslie (7-day IR) remain on the IR, although both are eligible to be activated.
Bakersfield returns home this weekend for the Condors Fighting Cancer Hockey-Thon Weekend, a 41-hour hockey marathon organized by Condors legend Kevin Barrett that includes Condors games on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, Bakersfield plays host to the Stockton Thunder. The first 2,000 fans, 12-and-under, will receive a Yutaka Fukufuji Bobblehead Doll, courtesy of ABC23 and Carl's Jr. Doors open at 6 p.m., puck drops at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, Feb. 24, the Condors host the Fresno Falcons for a 2 p.m. matinee, sponsored by Bright House Networks, KUZZ 107.9 and Hudson Custom Construction. Prior to the game, Condors and Falcons Alumni will square off in a charity match at noon. Doors will open at 11:45 a.m. that day.
You can catch all Condors games live on the All-New KGEO AM1230 with the "Voice of the Condors" Kevin Bartl. All games are also available to watch online through B2 Networks. Just click the "Watch and Listen Live" link on the Condors home page. Live streaming for all Condors games is also available at no cost via the website, www.bakersfieldcondors.com.
Both games this weekend will be televised live on Bright House Networks Channel 21. Saturday's game will air live at 7 p.m. and will be replayed on Sunday at 7 p.m. Sunday's matinee game will air live at 2 p.m. and will be replayed on Monday at 7 p.m. For a complete listing of all Condors games on Bright House, and their replay times, click here.
Average Attendance - 5,680 (4th)
Shorthanded Goals - 12 (2nd)
Road Shorthanded Goals - 10 (1st)
Penalty Minutes - 1,316 PIM/25.8 PIM per game (2nd)
LW Mark Derlago - 27 goals (t-4th overall/2nd rookies)
LW Mark Derlago - 11 power play goals (2nd rookies)
C Tim Konsorada - 26 goals (7th)
C Tim Konsorada - 4 shorthanded goals (t-2nd)
LW Evan Kotsopoulos - 3 SHA (t-3rd)
D Kevin Truelson - 37 points (t-2nd Defensemen)
D Kevin Truelson - 12 goals (t-1st Defensemen)
D Kevin Truelson - 7 power play goals (t-2nd Defensemen)
D Kevin Truelson - 3 game winning goals (t-1st Defensemen)
Points- C Tim Konsorada (48)
Goals- LW Mark Derlago (27)
Assists- RW Andrew Ianiero (32)
PIMs- D David Kudelka and RW Jason Kostadine (118)
Plus/Minus- D Kevin Truelson (+12)
Wins- G Yutaka Fukufuji (9)
GAA- Fukufuji (3.48)
Save Percentage- Fukufuji (.892)
Individual game tickets are now on sale and may be purchased through the Rabobank Arena Box Office, which is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday with extended hours on game days. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 322-2525, online at www.bakersfieldcondors.com, or at any Ticketmaster location.
Season tickets, mini-plans and group outings are available at the Condors office located at 1001 Truxtun Avenue or by calling 324-PUCK (7825).
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