Islanders Look To Even Playoff Series TonightMay 12, 2022
The Bridgeport Islanders look to even their best-of-five, division semifinal series against the Charlotte Checkers in Game 2 at Total Mortgage Arena tonight. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Bridgeport suffered a 3-2 loss in Game 1 of the second-round series on Tuesday, despite two goals from Austin Czarnik that gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the first period. Alexander True answered with two goals of his own in the second and Gustav Olofsson scored the tie-breaking tally with 3:20 to play in the third. Cory Schneider (2-1) made 22 saves in his third straight playoff start.
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ISLANDERS VS. CHECKERS
This is the first time that Bridgeport and Charlotte have ever met in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The division rivals tangled eight times during the regular season, with each team winning four of those matchups. Bridgeport had points in five of the eight meetings (4-3-0-1) and went 2-1-0-1 against Charlotte at home. Cole Bardreau scored more goals than anyone in the regular-season series, lighting the lamp five times in seven appearances. He was one of four different Islanders to collect seven points in the series (5g, 2a), joining Chris Terry (4g, 3a), Jeff Kubiak (3g, 4a) and Otto Koivula (2g, 5a).
CZARNIK LEADS THE WAY
Austin Czarnik has a team-high four points (2g, 2a) through Bridgeport’s first three playoff games. He entered the division semifinal series with two assists in two games, before scoring the Islanders’ only two goals in Game 1 on Tuesday. Czarnik now has six goals in his last eight games dating back to the regular season. He ended the regular season with 14 goals and 37 points, sharing fourth and fifth place on the team respectively, despite playing just 38 AHL games. He was second on the Islanders in points-per-game (0.97), trailing only Chris Terry (61 points, 61 games). Czarnik posted a playoff career-high seven points (three goals, four assists) in 17 games with the Providence Bruins in 2017.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Aatu Raty, the New York Islanders’ 52nd overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, is the only Bridgeport player with a point in each playoff game so far. Raty assisted on Czarnik’s second goal in Game 1 with a pass to Michael Dal Colle, whose shot produced a rebound for Czarnik. Raty’s first goal in North America was the overtime winner in Game 2 against the Providence Bruins, which sent Bridgeport to the second round for the first time since 2003. The 19-year-old forward, who also had an assist in overtime in Game 1 against Providence, became the first Bridgeport player with more than one career playoff overtime point.
SCHNEIDER’S HOT STREAK
Despite Tuesday’s regulation loss, Cory Schneider is 9-2-2 in his last 13 starts dating back to March 13th. He is third among all goaltenders in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 1.49 GAA, and fourth in save percentage (.951), in nearly 202 minutes of action. He has played in seven of the team’s last eight games. Schneider finished the regular season with a 14-11-4 record in 30 appearances and went 7-1-2 in his last 10, allowing two goals or fewer in seven of those. Schneider’s .921 save percentage was fifth in the AHL.
Bridgeport has scored exactly two goals in each of its three playoff games so far. The Islanders won both of their games in the first round by scoring twice, an unusual situation after winning just two times during the regular season when scoring two goals or fewer (2-20-5-3). Bridgeport was 29-10-2-1 in the regular season when scoring three times or more. The Islanders’ offense was ranked 21st during the regular season in goals-per-game (2.96).
The Islanders’ power play is 1-for-10 in the playoffs, while their penalty kill is 12-for-14 (85.7%)… Aatu Raty leads Bridgeport in shots-on-goal during the postseason (12)… Raty and Austin Czarnik co-lead the Islanders in assists (two) and plus-minus (+3) during the playoffs.
Here's the full schedule for the second-round matchup against Charlotte: