|(Credit: Bakersfield Condors)|
Bakersfield, CA - The Texas Stars fell in the first game of their six-game California trip to the host Bakersfield Condors by a 6-5 score in a back-and-forth offensive duel in front of 2,705 fans. Dylan Wells made his first career start for Texas, taking the loss, and fellow newcomer Scott Reedy made his season debut as well, scoring a late game-tying goal. Uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns led to the high score for Texas, which has allowed six or more goals just three times before tonight this season.
The Stars were 23-3-2 coming into tonight when scoring first in a contest. They did just that early off the stick of Riley Damiani. His goal just 78 seconds in was followed by Matej Blumel's 17th of the season to make it 2-0 under four minutes into the game.
A double minor for high-sticking was deadly as Bako cut the lead to 2-1 on the advantage. Texas killed a lengthy 5-on-3 thereafter but allowed a rebound goal to beat Wells from Tyler Benson, ending the first at a 2-2 score. Before the end of the frame, Riley Tufte and Nick Caamano just missed on converting a 2-on-0 to regain the lead.
The Condors took their first lead of the game just past the halfway point of the second period, marking three straight tallies. Seth Griffith beat Wells up high. Rhett Gardner stopped the bleeding a few minutes later with a goal off a deft pass from Will Butcher, making it 3-3. It wouldn't last long as a clean faceoff win back to Raphael Lavoie generated the 4-3 score after forty.
The Stars and Condors went punch for punch in the final frame. Bakersfield went first, pushing their lead to two. Texas got a bit of luck, earning a power play in a lightly penalized game for goaltender interference. The top-ten PP unit found the net as Marian Studenic, returning from absence, found a loose puck to make it 5-4.
Reedy's aforementioned first as a Star made it an even game with just 3:38 left. It was either team's game until Riley Tufte was called for interference, sending Bakersfield to the power play. Ryan Shea had a chance to clear the puck on the ensuing advantage but got slashed. The Bakersfield recovery ended up in Wells's net for the 6-5 final.
Texas packs up and heads to Coachella Valley on Saturday for their first ever game against the Firebirds.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Back, Karow, Stranges (scratch)
Rosburg (likely out for season - upper-body injury)
Tonight's attendance was 2,705.