Cup Dreams Rest on Condon’s Shoulders

WHEELING – Mike Condon’s statistics apparently were not enough.

Not his 23 victories, his 2.18 goals-against average, or .931 save percentage. The franchise-record six shutouts, one would presume, would catch the attention of most. If not, the fact he finished his season as Goalie of the Week and Month – just the second multiple winner in a season since 2009 in the league – with a 4-0-0 record in April, including a .993 SVP, 0.25 GAA and three shutouts in four starts had to sway some voters.

None of these stats were good enough for Condon to finish in the Top-5 for ECHL Rookie of the Year, or to be named all-rookie first or second team.

No problem.

Condon and company have their eyes on a bigger trophy. Teammates of the 23-year-old native of Holliston, Mass., realize what he means to their chances of bringing home the franchise’s first Kelly Cup.

”Condi has been playing great all year and we got a sense of him from the beginning,” forward Chaz Johnson said. ”He’s a great goalie and he works hard in practice. When you have a goalie that hot it’s dangerous and it could bring you a long way.”

Or how about this from Christiaan Minella?

”Some days we don’t come out as hard as we should but he’s kept us in every game and given us a chance to win every night,” he said. ”We know as long as we get a couple goals on the board we have a great chance to win that night.”

Or this, from fellow rookie Sahir Gill?

”The way he plays, he is so calm,” Gill said. ”There is so much trust in our group with him back there. You can kind of see it when he’s playing that way.

”We don’t have to worry about it and we feed off that.”

For his own part, Condon isn’t into statistics and what they mean, nor is he interested at all in standing out from the crowd. But the Princeton product’s play has made that increasingly more difficult.

”I haven’t really thought about it much,” he said with a shrug. ”I am just looking forward to Game 1 and we will see where it goes after that.

”I am not really thinking too much about strategy. I’m thinking about that first shot right now.”

That type of nonchalant attitude is a huge plus for a goaltender, perhaps more than for a regular skater. If a person in Condon’s profession hangs on too long to what happens – good or bad – there’s a better than average chance he won’t be sticking around in the game for too long. And as Gill mentioned, that rubs off on the rest of the team.

”Every night we have a chance if Mike is in there,” Coach Clark Donatelli said. ”He’s one of the top goalies in the league and we’re fortunate to have him.”