Islanders Host Crunch at 10:30 a.m.Nov 14, 2023
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Islanders (4-6-1-0) tangle with the Syracuse Crunch (6-3-0-2) at 10:30 a.m. this morning as part of their annual Fall Fun 101: School Day event at Total Mortgage Arena. Today’s game completes a four-game homestand for the Islanders, who have earned points in four of their first five games on home ice this season (3-1-1-0). Last time out, Ruslan Iskhakov scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as Bridgeport downed the Springfield Thunderbirds 2-1 on Saturday. Samuel Asselin assisted on both goals and Ken Appleby (2-2-0) made 20 saves for his second straight victory.
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GAME AT A GLANCE
Today’s game marks the second and final meeting between the Islanders and Crunch this season, and the only matchup at Total Mortgage Arena. Syracuse took the first meeting 4-2 on Oct. 14th, led by Felix Robert’s two points (1g, 1a). Brian Pinho and Jackson Cates had Bridgeport’s tallies, while Ruslan Iskhakov notched two assists. The Islanders went 1-1-0-0 against the Crunch last season, including a 5-2 win at home on St. Patrick’s Day.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
Tampa Bay's affiliate ended a three-game losing streak with a convincing, 6-3 victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday. Syracuse improved to 4-1-0-1 on the road this season and enters today’s game fourth in the North Division. Forwards Maxim Groshev and Michael Chaffee each scored twice and Gage Goncalves had three points (1g, 2a) to pave the way on Saturday. Leading scorer Felix Robert added two assists and is now tied for 11th in the AHL with 13 points (6g, 7a) in 11 games. Former Bridgeport defenseman Joel Bouchard (2005-07) is in his first season as Crunch head coach, taking over on June 26th after spending last season as head coach in San Diego.
PUCKS WITH YOUR PANCAKES
Today’s 10:30 a.m. puck drop is one of two morning games for the Islanders this season. They will also host the Utica Comets at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 2nd. Thousands of students from local schools and area youth groups will be in attendance. Bridgeport went 2-0-0-0 in games that began prior to noon last season - both at home. Both contests went beyond regulation, with the Islanders beating Charlotte in a shootout (4-3, Nov. 1, 2022) and Springfield in overtime (4-3, Apr. 4, 2023).
Ruslan Iskhakov matched his AHL career high with two goals on Saturday night. He also scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, in Bridgeport’s 4-3 victory at Rochester on Oct. 13th. Iskhakov enters today’s game leading the Islanders in goals (4), assists (6) and points (10). He shares the team lead in game-winning goals (2) and also paces the club in multi-point games (4) - one of which came against Syracuse on Oct. 14th.
PREVAILING UNDER PRESSURE
The Islanders are 4-0-1-0 this season when games are decided by just one goal. Their four wins in that category are tied for third-most in the Eastern Conference. In addition, Bridgeport’s three overtime wins are tied for the most in the AHL (3-1).
The Islanders have outshot their opponents in four straight games... Grant Hutton played his 200th pro game between the AHL and NHL on Saturday... Ken Appleby has improved his goals-against-average to 2.27, good for 16th among AHL netminders... Jeff Kubiak played his 281st game with Bridgeport on Saturday, passing Aaron Ness for sole possession of seventh place on the team’s all-time list... Samuel Asselin has five points (3g, 2a) in his last six games... He leads the Islanders in shooting percentage (20.0%, 3-for-15)... Bridgeport’s penalty kill is 38-for-43 this season, good for third in the AHL (88.4%).