CONDORS: Bakersfield managing energy and emotion for Game 2
Condors and Gulls return to the ice on Saturday less than 24 hours after playing to a fourth-overtime loss in Game 1
BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Condors and Gulls went the distance.
Two full games in a single evening on Friday ended with only one result in favour of San Diego, who took Game 1 in quadruple overtime by a score of 3-2 in the fifth-longest game in AHL history to take the early lead in the Pacific Division Finals.
You can watch tonight's game on AHL Live or listen on Fox Sports 970 AM.
"It's not easy playing that amount," Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said post-game. "We'll take the good and throw away the bad, making sure we rest up and hydrating making sure we're ready to go for tomorrow night."
Peer into the Condors dressing room after 124:20 of winless playoff hockey and you'll find plenty of tired bodies, but no wavered spirits.
"Really positive," Condors forward Brad Malone, who recorded his third multi-point game of the AHL playoffs on Friday with a goal and assist, said of the atmosphere in the dressing room. "It might be all the caffeine we've got in us, but we're good. You've got to stay with it.
"It's Game 1, it could've went either way, it wasn't our night, and we shake it off and keep it going."
Placing a loss in the past with the intention of moving on as quickly as possible is an approach fostered in the regular season by the Condors that can pay dividends at The After Party. That feeling becomes amplified ahead of Game 2, which comes less than 19 hours after Maxime Comtois ended Friday's marathon affair in the fourth overtime.
"We've had the attitude these entire playoffs of wanting our guys to park their emotions about 50 minutes after the game," Woodcroft said. "While this one doesn't feel that good right now, we chatted with our group after the game and say 'hey, we've got to get ready to play a game tomorrow night'. So it's all about getting proper rest, we're coming in with a fresh mindset tomorrow, and ready to play a tough opponent."
Malone and Patrick Russell connected shorthanded for the second-straight game to open the scoring, with the latter recording 10 of Bakersfield's 53 shots sent the way of San Diego netminder Jeff Glass in the series opener.
Sam Carrick's equalizer 4:33 into the second period after Joe Gambardella put the Condors back in the lead would be the last action for 79:47 as both sides pursued the winner in sudden death.
"This is why the playoffs are so exciting," Woodcroft added. "All they got was one win in the series, and it's about us refreshing and recharging making sure our minds are right to come prepared to do battle tomorrow night."
Make no mistake - the lingering impact of Game 1 is mutual.
"It's not like we're playing a fresh opponent," Woodcroft said. "They had to go through the same thing we had to go through. They're in the exact same position as we are. It's about making sure that we get to the game early tomorrow and continue to use our speed to get in on the forecheck and disrupt them."
Game 2 goes tonight back at Rabobank Arena, beginning at 8:00 p.m. MST.