BAKERSFIELD CONDORS GAME #8: HENDERSON SILVER KNIGHTS
Tonight, Bakersfield celebrated $2 beer night at the rink by hosting the Henderson Silver Knights in the first half of a back to back. I was not watching this game in person or this report would have been over after the first sentence. The game was a tightly contested affair with both goalies coming up big at various points of the evening. Eventually, the more skilled Bakersfield lineup broke through and, combined with a yeoman effort by the penalty kill(including 1:52 of 3v5) sealed up a 3-1 victory for their second straight home win.
In terms of the line-up, Coach Chaulk ran 12F-6D. The forward lines saw one switch with Tyler Tullio coming in for Graham McPhee who was injured. On defense, Adam Brubacher returned to the lineup replacing Darien Kielb who was reported injured as well...
The line combos and pairings were as follows:
The PK was a hodge podge at forward especially after Henderson scored on its opening power play against Malone and Bourgault. Chaulk opted for more veteran presence, but Noah Philp played a healthy dose short handed and was effective.
Who Got Noticed?
In his second game back after suffering a knee injury last Spring, Lavoie was simply a force. It is not hard to project him as a middle six NHL forward when he plays with the type of determination he did tonight. He ended the night with a goal on four shots, but it was evident long before his goal what type of night it was going to be. Look at this clip and watch how unstoppable he can be with the puck going to the net.
Lavoie should have had a pair of goals tonight. He was robbed on a rebound try from a tremendous shot by Tyler Tullio.
Lavoie was finally rewarded with another brilliant net drive and a tremendously accurate wrister for his first of the year.
Consistency is the key. Tomorrow night, if he brings the same intensity, it will be the start of something.
Noah Philp is an absolute gamer. His play on the puck and away from the puck, from a coaching perspective, is a dream. As I have said many times, he has all of the non-scoring skills you want in a NHL player. Certainly, the boots could be quicker, but they will not hold him back. Here is a clip of a really simple play that helps teams win. He wins a board battle in his own zone to exit a puck. While I don’t track exits team wide, he would have to be near the top because he rarely gets stuffed.
About that scoring stuff. It’s coming. He scored tonight for his second in two games. He, Hamblin and Janmark have formed a strong trio. Tonight, when on ice together, the line outshot the Silver Knights 12-4. Philp capped this off with a tap in goal off a great passing play.
I said after their last game that the offense would come for Kostin. And it did tonight. Kostin still had some quiet moments, but the key was the big man stayed away from lazy turnovers and uninspired play. He finished the night with another three shots on net, but what made everyone stand up at the Mechanic’s Bank Arena was this outstanding solo effort for his second of the season.
Bourgaul lost his point streak tonight, but still had his fingers all over this game. His puck skills are simply elite for this level and he had a couple of great instances again tonight.
He and Kostin are starting to develop some very good chemistry and I expect a big night for these two in the near future. Bourgault finished with no points, but two shots and was 1-0 GF at 5v5.
I’m just going to show clips of Michaal Kesselring skating ability and yell he’s 6’5” over and over. Kesselring didn’t have any points tonight, but was still outstanding. He had a ridiculous 6 shots and while none were grade A chances, two of the rebounds led to HDSC for his teammates.
But again, it is the skating.
Kesselring leads the team in shots with 26 and is 3rd in the AHL for defenseman. He remains tied for the scoring lead on the team and still has the team lead in goals.
Phil Kemp is starting to round into form. He ended last year with a very scary neck/head injury on a hit from behind. He started a little slow this year, but his last two games have been excellent. His calling card is his defense first approach to the position. However, his offensive instincts are undervalued. He can absolutely shoot the puck, but he is also a sublime passer of the puck and for my money he is the best Condor D at holding the offensive blueline. This clip below to me is an example of what Kemp can and should do more of. Watch him hold the line with authority on a loose puck. Then look at the seam pass he makes under pressure and through a small window. The creation of this goal almost assuredly will be credited to him by the coaching staff.
He finished the night 1-0 GF at 5v5 and had one assist. He has 3 points in 8 games. I think there is more to come.
Bakersfield is on the bus to Henderson to play the back half of this home and home tomorrow night at 8pm MST. See you at the rink.