Preview: Islanders at Checkers

Preview: Islanders at Checkers

Mar 8, 2023


The Bridgeport Islanders (25-22-7-1) make their lone trip to North Carolina this season to face the Charlotte Checkers (32-19-3-2) three times in the next four days, beginning tonight with a 7 p.m. matchup at Bojangles Coliseum. The division rivals will meet again Friday night (7 p.m.) and Saturday night (6 p.m.). Bridgeport is looking to build on a 3-0 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday, backstopped by Jakub Skarek’s 33-save shutout. Arnaud Durandeau broke a scoreless deadlock at 3:28 of the third period, while Cole Bardreau added two empty-net tallies. The Islanders enter the week tied with Hartford for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, four points behind Springfield and Lehigh Valley.





Tonight is the fourth of six meetings between the Islanders and Checkers this season, and the first of three at Bojangles Coliseum. Bridgeport is 1-2-0-0 against Charlotte this season, but the Checkers have points in each of the first three matchups. The Islanders earned a 4-3 shootout victory on Nov. 1st when William Dufour capitalized on his first pro shootout attempt to end the contest, while Charlotte skated to 4-1 and 5-2 wins in the last two meetings. Checkers rookie Justin Sourdif leads all players in the series with four points (four assists), while Dennis Cholowski and William Dufour each have three assists. 



The third-place Checkers are five points behind Providence and seven points ahead of Springfield and Lehigh Valley with 16 games left in the regular season. They have rotated wins and losses through their last nine games, including a 6-3 win against the Hartford Wolf Pack at XL Center on Sunday. Down 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Checkers rallied with five goals in the third period. Riley Bezeau scored twice, while Riley Nash had one goal and one assist. Nash leads Charlotte in scoring with 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games.



Arnaud Durandeau has seven goals in his last nine AHL games, including his second game-winner of the season on Sunday afternoon. He slammed home Chris Terry’s cross-crease pass following a T-Birds’ turnover at 3:28 of the third period to score his 14th goal of the season, one shy of his career high. It was Durandeau’s first goal since returning from his first NHL recall where he played four games with the New York Islanders, recording nine shots, a plus-1 rating and 13:00 average time on ice.



Jakub Skarek was lights out on Sunday afternoon, making 33 saves for his second shutout of the season and his fourth in the AHL. He improved his record to 4-1-0 when starting on a Sunday this season with a 1.00 goals-against-average, .970 save percentage and two shutouts in those games. He also blanked the Hershey Bears on the road Jan. 29th. Skarek has played in three straight games for the Islanders and has a team-leading 28 appearances this season.



The Islanders begin a four-game road trip that runs through next Wednesday... Ruslan Iskhakov has five goals and 12 points in his last nine games, and his 43 points on the season rank second among all AHL rookies... Former Checker Dennis Cholowski has 10 points (1g, 9a) in his last 10 games... Chris Terry has 15 points (6g, 9a) in his last 15 games and his team-leading 52 points on the season share 10th among all AHL players.



New York Islanders (33-25-8): Last 2-1 W vs. BUF, last night -- Next: Tomorrow at PIT, 7 p.m. ET

Worcester Railers (28-26-3-0): Last: 1-0 L at ME, Sunday -- Next: Friday vs. ADK, 7:05 p.m. ET

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