Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bonanza grad returns home to help defeat Wranglers

By Anthony Fenech

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009 | 11:30 p.m.

Don't take offense to the defensive specialist's desire to leave Las Vegas -- he just wanted to see the world.

Bakersfield Condors forward Adam Naglich returned home to Las Vegas Thursday night at the Orleans Arena, in front of friends, family, and against a Wranglers team that tried to sign the first-year pro.

"It's nice playing in front of friends and family obviously," Naglich said after the Condors 4-1 victory.

Before the season, the Wranglers came calling for his services, trying to reel the 25-year-old back home, but Naglich decided against returning to Las Vegas.

"I didn't really want to play at home," he said. "I wanted to play away from home. I grew up here and I just like seeing different cities. I wanted something else."

A 2002 graduate of Bonanza High School, Naglich traveled to Victoria, British Columbia to play Junior-A hockey for three years.

After his three years in Canada, he enrolled at Alaska-Fairbanks, where he played four years for the Nanooks and was amongst the team leaders in scoring his last two seasons.

His senior year, Naglich ranked third on the team in goals with nine and fourth in total points with 16. During his junior campaign, he finished fifth in total points with 19.

This season, he joins the Condors primarily as a defensive specialist, and early this season, he has excelled at the role.

"He's been very good," Bakersfield head coach Marty Raymond said. "He's very smart with the puck and knowledgeable about the game. When he doesn't have the puck, he's even better, and that's a trait that's not very easy to find. He's got everything going that we like and he fits right in."

Raymond said that through his stellar penalty kill performance, he envisions Naglich getting more looks on the power play as the year goes on too.

"I just try to work hard on both sides of the ice, play physically and be strong on face-offs," Naglich said.

He's played in eight of the Condors nine games, only recording one point but making his presence felt on special teams.

An avid poker player who has earned more than $73,000 in eight World Series of Poker cashes, Naglich said he won't have much time to hit the tables this weekend since as the Condors arrived Thursday afternoon and leave right after Friday night's game to host the Wranglers on Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.

But he will still enjoy his short trip home.

"I'll get together with my family tonight for dinner and probably do it again tomorrow," he said. "As always, it should be a good time."

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