BAKERSFIELD, CA -- In a game that started with a rain delay, was played in a torrential downpour for most of the second period and featured some outstanding back-and-forth action at Bakersfield's outdoor Memorial Stadium, ultimately it was the Condors that prevailed on an overtime goal by Griffin Reinhart which lifted the home team to a 3-2 victory over the Ontario Reign.
Only 46 seconds into OT, Reinhart created a turnover and broke in alone, making no mistake on the breakaway, firing the puck in past Ontario netminder Jack Campbell for the victory and a timely first goal of the season.
"I don't think I'll ever experience playing in a game that wet again," chuckled Reinhart. "But we got through it and battled through it and now it's over with and it'll be a lot more enjoyable story" due to the victory.
The game started about 40 minutes late due to rain throughout the day and it was scoreless up to the 15:07 mark of the opening stanza when an issue with the glass resulted in a premature end to the first period.
When the teams returned following a 15-minute intermission to play the final 4:53 of period one, it gave a new meaning to the phrase 'pond hockey' as a torrential downpour put the resumption of the game in question.
But the game went on, with the puck difficult to move in a rain-soaked atmosphere. Ontario seemed to thrive in the conditions -- perhaps aptly due to the team's 'Reign' nickname -- and scored the game's first goal when Brett Sutter fired one from close range with 1:17 to go in the opening period.
When the first period ended, the teams had a quick one minute break prior to starting the second period. 34 seconds into the middle frame, Justin Auger rifled a wrist shot that beat Laurent Brossoit short side to give Ontario a 2-0 lead.
After 40 minutes, the rain finally subsided and the ice was restored to near-normal conditions. It was at that point when the Condors began to find their legs in the game.
Laurent Brossoit talked about the challenges he had in the second.
"I got fed up after the second period and went into some old gear in the third period," said Brossoit. "It helped tremendously. I've never had such heavy gear.
"Every time I went down, I got absolutely soaked. And every time there was a shot there was a flicker of water that would spray up. They capitalized on a couple for sure in the second period but it was nice to be resilient and come back."
Only 1:21 into the third period, Bakersfield made it a one-goal game after Mark Fayne fired it in past Reign netminder Jack Campbell to make it 2-1.
The Condors controlled the game in the third, outshooting Ontario 12-4 and eventually that perseverance paid off.
Josh Currie tied the game with 2:17 to play with a quick backhand on a wraparound at the right side of the net, setting up the Reinhart overtime winner.