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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Eagles’ playoff berth delayed

Photo by AJ Nazzaro

Condors Delay Eagles’ Playoff Berth With 6-3 Win

LOVELAND, Colo. – The Bakersfield Condors doubled up the Colorado Eagles, 6-3, denying them a playoff berth for at least a few more days.  Bryan Pitton stopped 35 of 38 shots in the game, helping Bakersfield to its first win at the Budweiser Events Center and keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive in the process.

Bakersfield got on the board first when Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored on a wraparound chance 4:20 into the game  Joey Sides countered for Colorado at 6:48 by finishing a series of tic-tac-toe passes inside the offensive zone by Chad Costello & Steve Haddon.  The Condors had all four of the frame’s power plays, but the best offensive chances on each came from Colorado, with Pitton stopping Costello — the league’s leading scorer — on two breakaways.

The Condors made it 2-1 just 1:55 into the second period when Chris Kushneriuk picked up his own rebound on a rush and scored on another wraparound goal. Costello knotted the game back up at 8:14 — after being denied on his third breakaway of the night — by collecting his own rebound and sniping the top left corner of the net from the left dot.

Colorado took its first lead of the game two minutes later when Ben Chiarot scored on a bomb from the point to make it 3-2. But Bakersfield was able to respond at 18:21 when Ian McKenzie knocked home a bouncing ricochet from the low slot, sending the game into the second intermission tied at 3.

The Condors scored three goals in the final frame, while Pitton continued his strong play to keep the Eagles off the board.  The game-winner came at 2:06 when Kushneriuk carried the puck down the left wing and sent it toward the crease where Parker Stanfield chipped it past Kyle Jones who had been inserted into the lineup after Robby Nolan was injured midway through the second period.

Robby Dee then gave Bakersfield an insurance goal at 6:17 when he scored from the slot on a power play.  Peter Boyd added an empty-netter from center ice in the final minute to account for the final margin.

The Eagles’ next game will come Tuesday night when they host the Stockton Thunder in the first of back-to-back games.


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