The Bakersfield Condors concluded their 2016-2017 season on Saturday night with a big overtime win, but it has been another missed opportunity for the franchise.
Despite a late push toward the American Hockey League playoffs, the Condors came up short and finished in fifth place in the league’s Pacific Division — just behind rival Stockton. Going back to its ECHL days, the Condors have only made one postseason appearance over the last six seasons.
Of course in minor league hockey it’s all about how you support the parent team, and the Condors’ owners are surging in the NHL playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers, after years of mediocrity, finished second in the Pacific Division, behind the Anaheim Ducks, and have a 2-1 lead over the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s the first playoffs trip for the Oiler since losing in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals and the 47 regular season victories is the most since the glory years of the 1980s.
With Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win against the visiting San Jose Barracuda, the Condors showed grit and determination that put them into the hunt for the playoffs. The Condors were powered by Josh Currie’s hat trick, which featured a shorthanded goal that tied the game in the second period at 1-1.
“We played with a lot of pride,” Currie said during a postgame press conference. “We played for the fans. They came out and supported us all year long. So it was a big game for them.”
And that’s one thing that the Condors have going for them — loyalty.
Even without the playoff runs, with the exception of 2014 memorable run to the ECHL’s semifinals against Alaska, the Condors have benefited from intense fan loyalty, which has tolerated plenty of mediocre seasons.
While the Condors finished with a 33-29-5–1 record, the upside is that the team appears to be positioned for good things in the years to come thanks to Edmonton’s success on the ice this season.
At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see a great hockey team on the ice in Bakersfield, paired with the Condors’ dedicated fans. When that happens, we may see something very magical.
The Bakersfield Condors completed their 2016-2017 season with a 3-2 overtime victory vs. visiting San Jose.