By Mike Griffith
Californian Staff Writer
The Bakersfield Californian
LAS VEGAS – The leap said it all.
Mark Derlago scored his second goal of the game with one minute and 36 seconds left on Saturday night to lift the Condors to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers, evening the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Derlago scored from the right edge of the net and leaped nearly two feet into the air before the puck had stopped bouncing behind Las Vegas goaltender Glenn Fisher.
“I was excited,” said a calmer Derlago a few minutes later. “You get a goal with a minute and a half left and you think it’s the game winner, but it came right down to the wire.”
The Wranglers pulled Fisher for an extra attacker with a minute remaining and Yutaka Fukufuji made three stops to preserve the victory.
Fukufuji stopped 37 shots on the night.
“Fuj was great,” said Condors coach Marty Raymond. “Last year he was in a zone and he’s in a zone again. Nothing fazes him. He made a lot of good saves.”
Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Condors found their game by driving to the net in the second period.
Painchaud finished off some good work deep in the Las Vegas zone when he got free at the left edge of the net and hammed in his first goal at the 3:57 mark.
That line connected again just under three minutes when Derlago drove to the net and scored his first goal to tie the game.
Derlago had an assist to go with his goals and Bonk and Painchaud each had a pair of assists.
“We were a little off our game (Friday night),” Derlago said. “We went back to basics – getting the puck deep, cycling and going to the net. It worked.”
That type of play started in the second period.
“We didn’t get down after the first period,” Raymond said. “We knew if we played the type of game we wanted we could get right back in it. From the second period on we played a really strong hockey game. Now we feel better about ourselves.”
The Wranglers opened the scoring 8:27 into the game when Sean Owens scored from the slot on an out-numbered attack.
Las Vegas made it 2-0 with 4:49 left in the period when Dan Riedel, who had three assists on Friday night, fired in a rebound from low in the right circle.