BAKERSFIELD CONDORS GAME #11: ONTARIO REIGN
The Condors took to the ice for the second half of back to back games. Bakersfield came into tonight’s game sporting a four game winning streak. To stretch it to five games, the Baby Oilers had to overcome a formidable opponent, the Ontario Reign. The Reign, already sporting a roster that had delivered a 7-2-1 record to start the season, added Quinton Byfiled and Alex Turcotte to their lineup. In what was a highly competitive and tight checking affair, the Condors squeezed out a 3-1 win on the strength of Olivier Rodrigue’s netminding and the first two professional goals for Philip Engaras.
In terms of the line-up, Coach Chaulk ran 12F-6D. Chaulk ran the same line combinations as the prior game. However, it should be noted that Carter Savoie played very little in the second and third periods, only getting spot shifts occasionally.
The line combos and pairings were as follows:
PP2 was McKegg with Philp and Savoie along with Kaldis and Demers on the backend.
While powerplay looked more fluid and created chances tonight, it was still 0-3 and hasn’t scored in its last 23 power plays.
PK had a mix of kids including Bourgault, Philp, Broberg and Kesslering all playing bigger roles here.
Who Got Noticed?
Didn’t have a point, but the ice was tilted all night when he was on for the Condors. Played with Bourgault again and the pair is really starting to feed off each other in the offensive zone. Tullio essentially did everything, but put up points tonight. This shift was emblematic of his night. This is the definition of driving play.
In addition, he should have been rewarded with a couple of assists on some great passes to Bourgault, who is definitely fighting the puck.
Most notably, Tullio is starting to hang on to the puck and start to use his strong puck skills on the attack.
I will note that at his size, he will need to improve his skating. Even in the first clip at the beginning, we see a short stride with some heel kick that certainly slows him down. However, the more mature parts of his game such as his puck skills and shot are starting to become more noticeable each game.
Watching this player in college and at the prospect camp, you noticed a very smart hockey player whose offense was going to limit his upside professionally. His skating certainly needs work as well.
However, he has such a big brain for the game that there is potential. Tonight he did the one thing he will need to do to get noticed: he scored. Twice. In ten seconds! Here are both goals. The first one is nice work to get to the net and in position for a deflection. The second was an absolute bullet of a wrist shot. His shot is one element of his offensive game that is strong.
Almost certainly he will bounce between the ECHL and AHL this year, but the more he can develop his offensive skills, the more room he has to play professionally. .
The kid is really fighting the puck right now. However, what a coach looks for in a young offensive player when they are not scoring is whether the player remains responsible in other areas of the game. Bourgault is doing all of the little things well. He continued to work on PP1 and PK1 and was again out in a high leverage 5v6 situation at game’s end. His defensive conscience is really something for a twenty year old pro with 11 games under his belt.
He still had lots of creative offensive plays tonight. Here were a couple of them.
In this second one, watch the little shoulder check up the ice to see where his player was and watch what he does with the puck.
When scorers break out of slumps, it usually happens in a big way. Feels like Bourgault is very close here.
When Desharnais and Broberg were added back to the lineup, I wondered a bit about what the impact would be on Kesselring. It’s early days, but the answer is no impact at all. He remains the Condors most dynamic defenseman in all facets of the game. He finished tonight with another four shots on net, but for me, tonight was all about the defensive zone.
In his first clip, look at the smooth way he handles a retrieval and then exits the puck out of the zone.
In this next clip, watch his physical work against big Quinton Byfield that ends with the Condors clearing the puck.
Finally, a Kesselring package would not be complete without an end to end rush. He didn’t end up with an assist on this goal, but no question his contribution to it was important.
Kesselring is a coach’s kid and it shows on the ice. He’s doing a lot of good things offensively, but each game he continues to progress in his own zone.
A few honorable mentions to James Hamblin, Raphael Lavoie, Noah Philp, Philip Broberg and Vincent Desharnais. All had good, responsible games against a very tough Ontario team.
Bakersfield is off now until Tuesday when the Colorado Eagles come to town for a 7:30 game.