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Photo: Mark Nessia

Condors soar past Eagles, advance to second round

Patrick Russell‘s shorthanded goal midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie and sent Bakersfield to a 5-2 victory over Colorado and a 3-1 series triumph in their Pacific Division semifinal series.

Bakersfield scored four times in the final frame to erase a 2-1 Eagles lead and secure a spot in the second round against San Diego. That series will begin Friday.

After a scoreless first period, two-time Calder Cup champion Mitch Callahan slipped a backhand past Pavel Francouz at 4:03 of the second to give Bakersfield a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles tied it up at 8:16 as Martin Kaut pounced on a defensive-zone turnover by the Condors and scored his first goal of the series.

Colorado then beat the buzzer to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes, as Kaut redirected a back-door pass from Shane Bowers with 0.5 seconds showing on the clock.

The Condors’ comeback began when Evan Bouchard made it 2-2 at 2:23 of the third period with a power-play blast from the center point, his second goal in as many AHL games.

Russell then finished off a two-on-one shorthanded rush with his second goal of the series at 9:05 to put Bakersfield in front for good.

The Condors got a big insurance goal at 10:54 when William Lagesson‘s shot from the left wing hit teammate Brad Malone crashing the net and dropped in behind Francouz (1-3).

Luke Esposito put the final touches on the series win with an empty-net goal at 19:07.

Shane Starrett (3-1) stopped 24 shots to pick up the win for Bakersfield.

Attendance at Rabobank Arena for Game 4 was 8,120.

Pacific Division Semifinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
P1-Bakersfield Condors vs. P4-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Bakersfield 3, COLORADO 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – COLORADO 4, Bakersfield 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – BAKERSFIELD 5, Colorado 2 | Recap
Game 4 – Sat., Apr. 27 – BAKERSFIELD 5, Colorado 2