Bakersfield hosted a rare mid-week game on Tuesday against the Colorado Eagles. The Condors came into the game riding a five game winning streak. More impressive was the impact of the Condor’s young players during this streak. Michael Kesselring, Phil Kemp, Xavier Bourgault, Tyler Tullio, James Hamblin, Noah Philp, Carter Savoie and Raphael Lavoie have all made strong contributions to the Condors wins over the past six games.
Tonight the Condors ran straight into a veteran laden Colorado team and it was tough sledding right from the drop of the puck. Down 4-1 early in the second with their starting goal injured, the Condors kids mounted a comeback. In the end, the team came up short, losing 4-3. While the focus of these articles is prospect performance, I’ve never been more tempted to write about the poor leadership shown by the vets on this club for two and half periods all the while the kids were fighting the good fight. On the other hand as someone who focuses on prospects, tonight was very educational.
In terms of the line-up, Coach Chaulk ran 12F-6D. The bad news was Vincent Desharnais re-injured his hand and will miss two weeks. He was replaced by Darren Kielb tonight. At forward Dino Kambeitz was scratched in favor of Graham McPhee. The line combos and pairings were as follows:
PK had a mix of kids, including Hamblin and Philp running heavier minutes at forward. Broberg, Kemp and Kesselring all played bigger minutes tonight on a penalty kill that held the Eagles to 0-3.
Who Got Noticed?
The lightning rod prospect, who has been in and out of the lineup with injury was simply stellar tonight. His totals were 2-0-2 along with 4 shots and he was the only Condors defenseman not on the ice for a goal against in any manner.
There has been a fair amount of supposition as to Broberg’s slow start this year. One narrative related to a change in his body type with added muscle mass causing him issues. Another one was that he was told to focus on his defensive zone work and that was causing him issues. Perhaps it is both of those, but one general observation I can make about Philip Broberg is that when he is assertive in his play, he seems to be better. Even if he over commits on plays, encouraging him to be more assertive would be beneficial. Take a look at these clips and watch the aggressive first action he takes off all of them. With his size, skating ability and reach, it’s very tough to defend.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t show the two goal performance tonight.
Maybe not quite the masterpiece the first one was. pic.twitter.com/pQfnunlDT4— bcurlock (@bcurlock) November 16, 2022
Bottle that performance up and replicate it every game.. .
Tullio again did not have a point tonight, but without a doubt it was him and his linemate, Xavier Bourgault that willed this team back into the game. Watch this clip, which was the shift following the 2-0 goal scored by the Eagles. Tyler Tullio had enough and he was going to impose his will. For a twenty year old in a man’s league, it was impressive.
Tullio was strong on the forecheck again tonight creating turnovers and subsequent opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Tullio finished the night with three shots on net and no points, but a bunch of street cred for his willingness to bring his team back into this game.
Hamblin finished the night with two assists as well as two shots on goal. He was put back on the PP1 after the team had struggled mightily with him off of the first rotation. Tonight, the power play went 2-2. Hamblin just does it all and some nights he does it so quietly, I don’t even have a clip to show you. He’s now tied for the team lead in scoring with 10 points in 12 games. There are NHL games coming his way for certain.
The scoring is going to come. Bourgault was all over this game tonight. As mentioned, he along with fellow twenty year old Tyler Tullio really led the Condors back into this game. Bourgault’s offensive instincts are just a pleasure to watch. Look at this clip of an offensive zone shift. Watch his constant motion, direction changes and puck skills.
The scoring will come. There is no question. When it does, it will be in bunches.
Bakersfield returns to the ice Friday night against the Calgary Wranglers to see if they can start a brand new winning streak.