Condors triumph as Eagles struggle to find the net in third period


LOVELAND, Colo. — Last night’s appearance against the Condors set the stage for the team to celebrate more successes in the last game of the series. While still difficult to find the net in excess, confidence from the victory could certainly play a role.

Brad Hunt and Riley Tufte both scored their first goals in 2024, and it seemed to open up a world of opportunity for the rest of the team. Though ultimately dropping the game 4–2 and splitting the series, several Eagles players revived their goal production.

First period

The game was expected to be intense, and the obvious emotion was seen only two minutes into the game.

Dalton Smith and Condors player Ben Gleason were both given five minutes for fighting after Smith sent him into the boards, giving the Condors an early power play. Last night, Bakersfield failed to convert on any of the extra man opportunities, and that problem continued.

After being sent to the box for tripping, Cedric Paré assisted the Eagles’ first goal upon his release. Tanner Kero scored his fourth goal of the season with Paré’s help, and Ondrej Pavel was credited with the secondary assist. Kero’s goal is his first since Dec. 16 against the Ontario Reign.

The lead was short-lived as the Condors flew down the rink and scored their own goal only nineteen seconds after Colorado.

The Eagles didn’t need to worry for long. At the seventeen-minute mark, Spencer Smallman caught a rebound from Chris Wagner and scored while sliding on his back. His last goal was netted on Dec. 30 against the Iowa Wild.

Second period

When leading after the first period, the Eagles were undefeated.

Colorado had only found itself in the box one time for interference, which was a tremendous improvement from the first period. Over halfway through the second frame, the lead appeared to hold. The Eagles set the stage to dominate the game, but the Condors were determined not to let that happen.

At the 13 minute mark, the Condors took the lead for the first time. The Eagles needed to bounce back if they were going to stay in the game. Once trailing after the second frame, the team was 0-11-0-0.

Even when gifted a late power play in the second period, the lineup could not convert and ended the period trailing by one.

Third period

Once Bakersfield took the lead, there was no looking back. Though the Eagles tried to push through to the end and generate a goal, they couldn’t find a way to get there.

While the game was still close, Miner was called off the ice in favor of an extra attacker. With only 48 seconds remaining on the clock, the Condors took advantage of an open net and brought the final score to 4–2.

Colorado could only take eight shots in the final frame but outshot its opponent 34–23.


Colorado frequently seems to have trouble staying out of the box. On several occasions, the team has held the lead until they are repeatedly spending time on the penalty kill. It’s hard to score goals when shorthanded!

In this series, the team struggled to find the back of the net late in the game. How vital it is to offensively attack an opponent goes without saying, but when coupled with the penalties, it is a recipe for disaster.

A contributor to some struggles the team is experiencing is the roster changes because of call-ups, reassignments, and injuries. Sam Malinski and Jason Polin have both spent significant time with the Colorado Avalanche, leaving holes in the lineup and forcing lines to be adjusted. Wyatt Aamodt suffered an upper-body injury last night, forcing Josh Wesley to be recalled from the Utah Grizzlies.

The Eagles will continue their home stand on Saturday, Jan. 20 against the San Jose Barracuda.

About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


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