Surging confidence leads to Tullio’s success

📝 by Ryan Holt | AHL On The Beat

Bakersfield Condors head coach Colin Chaulk knows that to have success in the AHL, everyone “has to bring something to the party.”

And so far, the second half of the season has been Ty Tullio’s coming-out party.

Just 20 years old and drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Tullio is fourth on the Condors in scoring and has come alive post-Christmas break. After totaling eight points in his first 24 games of the season, the winger has 17 points (9g, 8a) in 20 games since Jan. 13.

“I’ve tried over the course of the season to earn the coach’s trust and earning the team’s trust at the same time,” Tullio said. “It was an up-and-down start to the year, but coming back after Christmas I think I’ve really found my game and hit my stride. I come to the rink looking to improve every day and the results have showed that. Overall, being more confident has made me a better player.”

Tullio was part of a remarkable, history-making night in San Diego on Feb. 19 as he recorded his first professional hat trick as part of a four-point night. He was joined by teammate Raphael Lavoie’s four-goal night as the two combined for seven of the team’s eight goals and became the first Condors to record hat tricks in the same game.

“It was just my second hat trick of my career even going back to juniors,” he said. “Having another guy score four goals and to share it was awesome.”

Chaulk has seen Tullio’s game taking off as part of a larger surge for the Condors, who started 2023 with a .675 points percentage through the first 20 games.

“He’s taken a really big step. Ty is a young player, who was a big time scorer in junior and had to reinvent himself here,” Chaulk said. “He had to understand how to play a harder and heavier game and he’s worked and earned everything that he has gotten. He’s had that offensive flair and individually he’s done a great job finishing.”

Three of the Condors top four scorers are rookies and as the Condors have shown in recent years, the track record for developing and moving players on to the NHL has been solid. But, it takes time.

“It’s difficult for younger players and everyone wants results,” Chaulk said. “You have to adapt and change with the times. It takes time to get a finished product. It’s a slow cooker. It’s not an overnight process. There has been a lot of hard work, a lot of video, a lot of hard conversations, and now you’re seeing the kids have success. When you see that, they become poised, patient, and confident. They find their roles, they feel important, and that’s when you start stacking W’s on top of each other.”

Those wins have been a welcomed sight for the Condors, who grinded through a stretch of 15 of 22 games on the road to emerge into March’s seven-game homestand on a good foundation to make a further push up the Pacific Division standings.

Tullio’s connection to his teammates, in particular his chemistry with veteran Seth Griffith, has played a key role in both individual and team success.

“Griff’s an unbelievable player. He can slow the game down and creates time and space for anyone on his line,” Tullio said. “I know he’ll find me and put it on my tape. We had a really offensive night in San Diego and I just had to find spots to get into a shooting area. I knew I just needed to get the puck and get it off my stick. I’ve fed off guys like that and do what I can do to bring something to the table.”

Poised and confident, Tullio and the Condors are in prime position to polish off a solid campaign.