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AHL Wrap Up: Condors Cage Knights

Two goals in 12 seconds help put Bakersfield on top against Henderson

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images


The Bakersfield Condors played their last game before American Thanksgiving on Tuesday night. The game came only a few days after a weekend set against the Calgary Wranglers that left the Condors looking to pick up the pieces. Outshot 89 to 56 and outscored 10 to 3 by the Wranglers; the Condors were completely outclassed. On Tuesday, the Condors looked to regain their footing against the Henderson Silver Knights, a team Bakersfield has already beaten three times this season. It was a relatively even affair until two of the Condors’ kids, Michael Kesselring and Xavier Bourgault scored 12 seconds apart to secure a 3-2 win. The win was the Condors first in four and was a badly needed reset for prospects and veterans alike.

In terms of the line-up, Coach Chaulk ran 12F-6D. Savoie and Engaras both came out of the lineup as healthy scratches replaced by Kambeitz and McPhee. On the backend, Darien Kielb came out of the line-up and was replaced by Adam Brubacher. Desharnais and Kaldis both remain injured..










PP1 was:




The second PP was:




PK had a mix of prospects with Hamblin and Benson seeing lots of 1PK time. Broberg, Kemp and Kesselring all played bigger minutes tonight on a penalty kill for the backend..

Who Got Noticed?

Xavier Bourgault

It was nice to see the rookie rewarded with his fourth goal of the season. His game was strong in each zone all evening and it showed on the game sheet. 1-0-1 with four shots and 1-0 GF at five on five. He spent most of his evening on a line with Esposito and Lavoie, but also saw minutes with the combination of James Hamblin and Tyler Tullio. It was this line that produced the Bourgault goal.

Bourgault also had his usual flair in the offensive zone tonight as these clips illustrate.

However, the shift I liked the most tonight was this one here. Both for the tenacious work done, but also the strength on his skates he showed. He’s not a big frame, so his ability to be physically strong on the forecheck and puck protecting will be key.

Tyler Tullio

I will beat this like a drum, I do not understand why the coach healthy scratches this player. He gives 100 percent each shift. He’s incredibly smart and reliable in all three zones. He makes plays happen almost every time he is out there. Look at this sample of clips from him tonight.

He understands how to play above the puck. He plays through every single whistle. He creates opportunities.

Was really glad to see him get a primary assist on the Bourgault goal. Those who have followed me know I rave about his shot. It is heavy. Tonight, three times, he caused rebounds with his shot. The last one leading to a goal. These were shots against a legitimate NHL goaltender in Laurent Broissoit. In the clip below, look how far out he is when he releases the puck and look at the trouble it gives the former Oiler netminder.

Tullio finished the night 2-0 GF at evens with one assist on three shots. He simply should not come out of the lineup.

Tyler Benson

To me, this was the first game that Benson really started to drive play. He has been his pesky usual self over the first two games, but tonight was more about puck skills. He finished the night with one assist on two shots and was 1-0 GF at 5x5. He was on a line with James Hamblin and Tyler Tullio that was humming all night. He also was on 1PP and 1PK tonight as well. But it is all about that assist.

Benson probably only plays one or two more games before the Oilers decide what to do. In my opinion, he should be in the NHL.

James Hamblin

I could write the same paragraph every night with Hamblin. He played on the PK, the PP, the high leverage minutes at 4x4 and also defended the lead late. He also centered the best Condors line with Tyler Benson and Tyler Tullio as his wingers. I think it is likely he ends up with an assist on the Bourgault goal, but nevertheless he led the team with five shots and was 1-0 GF tonight at 5x5. The only blemish was a failed PK where he and Tyler Benson got stretched too far and it created a HDGA from the slot.

Philip Broberg

His sheet tonight may look boring with no points and only one shot, but Broberg was really good tonight. He played with Phil Kemp tonight and when on the ice together the shot differential was a plus 8 for the Condors. Here is a clip of Broberg defending the in zone tonight. A really excellent example of what he can do when he is assertive. First, he reads that he has help up top and attacks a player who is struggling with the puck. Look at the reach to get his stick on the puck and then one push to close and take the offensive player’s hands away which creates a loose puck situation. That is solid defending.

Michael Kesselring

A quieter night for the most part. Played only 5x5 and some 2PK. Only had one shot on net, but he made it count.

Aside from his offense, he and his defensive partner Jason Demers had a plus five shot differential when they were on the ice. Kesselring was 1-0 GF. A solid, quiet game tonight from Kesselring.

Bakersfield will take a break for American Thanksgiving returning to the ice against the San Diego Gulls on Saturday.