Three power play goals allowed the Ontario Reign (30-20-4-1) to erase an early deficit and for overtime, but a breakaway goal by Seth Griffith in the extra session gave the Bakersfield Condors (25-25-2-2) the win in the final regular season matchup of the season between the two teams on Saturday night at the Mechanics Bank Arena.
Samuel Fagemo scored two of the man-advantage tallies for Ontario in a losing effort, while TJ Tynan had a game-high three points with a goal and two assists and both Lias Andersson and Jordan Spence picked up a pair of helpers.
More from head coach Marco Sturm and Nate Schnarr, who made his Reign debut on Saturday, below.
Ontario got ahead early with the opening goal of the game at 8:18 of the first when Andre Lee wristed home a loose puck from the slot after an initial shot by Tyrell Goulbourne created the chance.
But the Condors responded quickly and scored twice before the end of the first frame to take a 2-1 edge into the first intermission. Justin Bailey tied the game with a shorthanded breakaway goal at 9:38 before Luke Esposito put Bakersfield in front at 18:10 of the period.
Xavier Bourgault extended the Condors’ advantage to 3-1 when he scored off a 2-on-1 rush at 11:26 of the second.
Fagemo responded at 18:48 when he one-timed a cross-ice pass by Tynan into the back of the net for his first power play goal of the evening. The goal cut the Bakersfield lead down to 3-2 and also had a second assist by Spence.
After Fagemo’s tally, the Condors put pressure on in the Reign end and despite Cal Petersen stopping multiple opportunities, Ontario was unable to get the puck out of their defensive zone. Griffith appeared to score with less than a second remaining on the clock prior to the end of the period, but after an official review it was determined that time had already expired and the goal was waived off.
Bakersfield did end up pushing their lead back to two goals on a power play strike by Max Gildon at 2:43 of the third that made it 4-2, but the Reign weren’t done.
Tynan made it a one goal game again at 5:20 of the final period, netting his eighth goal of the season on the power play from Andersson and Spence. Andersson swung a backhand pass through the middle of the ice to Ontario’s captain, who had plenty of open net to shoot at and didn’t miss.
Then Fagemo added the equalizer 2:26 later at 7:46 of the third, scoring his second power play goal of the game and his 20th overall for the season to even things back up at 4-4. Andersson and Tynan recorded helpers on the play, with Tynan’s assist counting as his league-leading 60th of the season. It was also Fagemo’s team-leading 11th power play goal of the year which is a new career-high for the third-year pro.
The two teams continued to battle for the remainder of regulation, which featured multiple crucial stops by Petersen who turned out 13 total attempts in the third. Petersen finished the contest with 29 saves in a losing effort for Ontario.
Griffith won the game at 1:45 of overtime, taking a feed from his goaltender Calvin Pickard and racing up the ice on a breakaway before beating Petersen with a wrist shot underneath the blocker.
Pickard earned the victory for the Condors with 19 saves in the contest and also had the lone assist on the game-winning goal. Ontario finished 3-for-5 on the power play in the game, while holding Bakersfield to a 1-for-4 mark on the man-advantage. The Condors had a 34-23 edge overall in shots on goal.
On what went well for the power play later in the game
We just we got embarrassed, pretty much. Started a few games ago and then yesterday with two shorthanded goals against, and another one today. So I think we just got embarrassed and we just want to make sure it’s not going to happen again. And you know, sometimes you’ve got to keep it simple and throw pucks on the net and that’s what they all of sudden started to do and all of a sudden you get those bonuses and they were big goals, coming back in the third I give the guys credit, but we shouldn’t be in that position first of all. But we did and we take that point and OT, lately it’s not been on our side but it’s just not good enough and it’s been creeping in for the last three, four games. Now we’re going to go home, get some rest and use these three days now in between our next game to get better.
On the play of Fagemo, who has scored goals in his last three games
We focused a little bit more on his shooting and also just take the shots too. There’s a lot of times he just wouldn’t take it but he’s a big threat and even to the other guys. We wanted to give it to him because of his shot. I’m glad he came and showed up today. He’s been back home for the whole week, didn’t really skate at all and come here and he wanted to help the team and he absolutely did.
On the play of Nate Schnarr in his debut
He was good. He just got here a couple of hours ago before the game and you know right away he fits right in. He’s a good kid and wants to get better and wants to help and we know his strength is the faceoff circle and that’s where we struggle. So that’s why I’m glad I could use him for a lot of faceoffs and especially at the end.
On the importance of practicing before the team’s next game on Wednesday
Yeah, we all have to do a little bit of homework, including coaches and also players and to use those practices. There are tough games coming up. Sometimes I feel like we play better against better teams, or teams that are ahead of us. So hopefully it’s going to stay like this because it’s going to be a tough stretch. We need points and we want to get ready for the last few weeks here and get ready for the playoffs.
On his process of finding out he was in the lineup tonight
I think I got the call around 12:45 that I’ve been traded and then waited for a call and got the call that I was flying out at six o’clock I think it was around 1:30. So I quickly threw some stuff in a bag and headed to the airport and then I was told I was going to be in the lineup tonight so I thought it was a perfect experience. Just got to show what I can do and play my game. It would have been nice to get the two points for the guys, but I thought there was a lot to build off tonight.
On what he was doing when he found out about the trade
I was preparing for a game. We actually had a game last night, so I was just about to eat my pregame and I got the phone call. So that’s the way it is. I’m super excited to be here. I couldn’t be happier. The guy welcomed me so well. So super happy to be part of the organization.
On his process of getting ready for the game with his new coaches
It was a whirlwind. It felt like another day at school. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to take in, but again, everyone was so welcoming. They said play your game. If you forget what the systems are, just go back to your instincts. You’ve been a hockey player for so long. Everyone made it feel just like another hockey game and made me feel really good so it was awesome.
On what fans can expect from him as he joins the Reign
I think I’m a strong two-way centerman. I like to have a lot of fun out there and just compete for every puck. In a 50/50 battle I’m going to try to come out with it every time. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the fans at home and having some fun.
Ontario returns home this week for a Wednesday night battle against the San Jose Barracuda beginning at 7 p.m. inside Toyota Arena.
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