PREVIEW: CONDORS HOME OPENER
After meeting just four times last season, the Bakersfield Condors host the San Antonio Rampage for the first of six games between the two sides. Last season, Bakersfield went 3-1-0-0 against the Rampage including a perfect 2-0-0-0 mark at Rabobank Arena. The most lopsided victory of the season for the Condors came at the expense of San Antonio in a 7-1 win on November 2, 2016. It matched a team-high for goals in a game (7) and margin of victory (6).IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Bakersfield fired 42 shots on goaltender Jon Gillies, but it was a pair of special teams goals in the second period which propelled Stockton to a 4-1 opening night victory last Friday. D Ethan Bear made his professional debut and scored his first goal in the pro ranks. LW Joey LaLeggia fired a team-high six shots in the loss.San Antonio won its season opener, 2-1, over the Ontario Reign at home on Saturday. The Rampage jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Samuel Blais and Jordan Schmaltz and never looked back. Goaltender Spencer Martin earned his first win of the season with 18 saves on 19 shots.
San Antonio forward Klim Kostin became the first 18-year old to play for San Antonio in the AHL. He is the third youngest player to ever play in the league behind current Condors winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Stockton d-man Oliver Kyllington.
YOUNG GUNS PART 2
The Condors blue line features four newcomers to the professional ranks in North America. Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, and Ryan Mantha are all rookies out of major juniors, while Ziyat Paigin plays his first full season in North America after playing predominantly in the KHL (Russia) previously.
The Condors leadership corps includes captain Ryan Hamilton along with four rotating alternates: Dillon Simpson, Keegan Lowe, Mitch Callahan, and Brad Malone… Bakersfield is 11-7-1 in its 19 home openers in team history. In the AHL, the Condors are 1-1-0-0 with a win over Grand Rapids in 2015 and a loss to Tucson last season… D Ethan Bear became the second Condor in the AHL era to post his first professional goal in his pro debut. C Joe Gambardella accomplished the feat in Texas last season…Friday’s loss was the first season opening loss in three years for the Condors. The team previously had a home win over Grand Rapids in 2015 and a road win in Manitoba in 2016.
On Tuesday it was announced that the Colorado Avalanche was granted the 31st AHL expansion franchise and would base it in Loveland, Colorado with the Colorado Eagles. As part of the announcement, the San Antonio Rampage signed a five-year affiliation agreement with the St. Louis Blues, which begins next season…The Blues are currently without a full-time AHL affiliate, but do have prospects assigned to San Antonio this season.