Islanders Look to Keep Rolling in Toronto, RochesterMar 26, 2022
The Bridgeport Islanders (25-25-6-4, .500), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, are prepared to keep rolling this weekend as they continue a four-game road trip in Toronto and Rochester. The Islanders are unbeaten in regulation in their last five games (4-0-1-0) and look to sweep their season series’ against both the Marlies and Americans, beginning this afternoon with a 4 p.m. matchup against Toronto at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Last time out, Bridgeport earned a 4-1 win in Utica on Wednesday, where defensemen collected all four of the Islanders’ goals. Paul LaDue scored twice to match a career high, while Grant Hutton (GWG) and Mitch Vande Sompel also lit the lamp. Cory Schneider (9-10-3) made 30 saves.
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ISLANDERS VS. MARLIES
The Islanders cross the border for the final time this season to complete their two-game season series with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ affiliate. Bridgeport surged to a 5-4 win in their first meeting on Dec. 11th at home, led by Otto Koivula’s two goals and Austin Czarnik’s second three-point effort of the season (one goal, two assists). Chris Terry and Andy Andreoff both scored once and added an assist. Today is Bridgeport’s first visit to Toronto in more than three seasons – a 3-2 shootout win on March 10, 2019.
VIEW FROM TORONTO
Head coach Greg Moore, who played 62 games with the Sound Tigers in 2009-10, has led his Marlies to back-to-back wins entering the weekend. Toronto (30-22-3-1, .571) sits third in the North Division and earned a 3-2 shootout victory in Rochester last night. Alex Steeves and Brandon McMann both scored in regulation and leading-scorer Joey Anderson had the only tally in a three-round shootout. Michael Hutchinson (6-6-3) made 26 saves.
ISLANDERS VS. AMERKS
Bridgeport and Rochester will square off for the second and final time this season on Sunday afternoon, featuring a 3:05 p.m. matchup at Blue Cross Arena. The Islanders earned one standings point against Buffalo’s affiliate on Feb. 15th at Total Mortgage Arena, but J.J. Peterka ended the night at 3:01 of overtime in a 3-2 Rochester win. Andy Andreoff and Paul Thompson each scored for Bridgeport. The Islanders last journey to Rochester, N.Y. was also more than three seasons ago - March 8, 2019.
VIEW FROM ROCHESTER
The Amerks (30-23-4-3, .558) are in fourth place and one of the hotter teams in the North Division, unbeaten in regulation in five straight (3-0-1-1). Sean Malone scored both of their goals in last night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Marlies at home, while Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (10-11-3) made 27 saves in his team-leading 24th appearance of the season. Rookie forward JJ Peterka went pointless for the first time in five games, but continues to lead Rochester in scoring and is tied for 15th in the AHL with 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 54 games. He is also third among all AHL rookies in points and assists.
CZARNIK REMAINS HOT
Austin Czarnik logged two assists in Utica on Wednesday and now has a multi-point performance in three of his last five outings. Even better, Czarnik’s four-assist game last Saturday against Syracuse was the 10th such instance in Bridgeport history, and the first since Josh Ho-Sang did it on Nov. 4, 2018. It was also Bridgeport’s first four-point performance since Ho-Sang had five on Feb. 17, 2019. For Czarnik, it was a new single-game career high in points and assists. The 29-year-old winger has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his last 11 AHL games. He’s earned at least three points in four of his last nine appearances.
Cory Schneider is 5-1-1 over his last seven starts and has made at least 30 saves in seven of his last eight. The veteran goaltender, who played his 600th professional game on Mar. 16th and celebrated his 36th birthday on Mar. 18th, has played in seven of Bridgeport’s last 10 games. He has a 1.34 GAA and .960 save percentage in his last five appearances combined.
The Islanders are currently .025 percentage points outside of a playoff spot with 12 games left in their regular season (tied for the second fewest in the AHL)... Bridgeport’s record is at .500 for the first time since Nov. 12th and hasn’t been above .500 since Oct. 30th (3-2-0-2)... The Islanders are 6-2-2-0 against the North Division and have earned at least one point on the road in four straight games, which matches a season high... Bridgeport’s penalty kill on the road is third-best in the AHL (87-102, 85.3%)... Mitch Vande Sompel’s goal on Wednesday was his first since Apr. 13, 2019... Vande Sompel is one of five Ontario natives on Bridgeport’s active roster, joining Andy Andreoff, Chris Terry, Michael Dal Colle and Erik Brown... Grant Hutton has scored a goal in back-to-back games for the first time in his pro career.
New York Islanders (28-25-9); Last: 5-2 W vs. Detroit, Thursday -- Next: Today at Boston, 12:30 p.m. ET
Worcester Railers (28-25-4-2); Last: 5-1 W at Adirondack, last night -- Next: Tonight at Adirondack, 7 p.m. ET