Preview: Islanders vs. CrunchMar 17, 2023
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Islanders (27-24-7-1) return home tonight after four straight games on the road, completing their season series against Tampa’s affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch (28-21-5-3), at 7 p.m. The Islanders continue to hold the Atlantic Division’s sixth and final playoff spot, one point ahead of Hartford, despite a 7-5 loss to the Wolf Pack on Wednesday. William Dufour recorded three points (1g, 2a) for the second time in his pro career, while Kyle MacLean (1g, 1a) and Robin Salo (2a) also had multiple points. Andy Andreoff potted his team-leading 26th goal of the season, joining Dufour, MacLean, Ruslan Iskhakov and Collin Adams, who all beat goaltender Louis Domingue. Cory Schneider (17-8-3) made 28 saves for Bridgeport.
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GAME AT A GLANCE
Tonight’s game is the second and final meeting between the Islanders and Crunch this season, and the only matchup at Total Mortgage Arena. Syracuse won the first game in regulation, 4-3, on Dec. 17th, when Andy Andreoff, Kyle MacLean and William Dufour each scored, and Jakub Skarek (10-13-3) had 27 saves. Gabriel Dumont recorded two goals and Gage Goncalves had three assists to lead Syracuse at Upstate Medical University Arena. Both teams scored once on the power play.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
Head coach Ben Groulx’s team is 6-3-1-0 in its last 10 games and enters the weekend third in the North Division, two points behind Utica and three points ahead of Rochester. Like the Islanders, Syracuse is looking to bounce back after dropping its most recent game, a 4-2 loss in Providence on Wednesday. Rudolfs Balcers and Trevor Carrick both scored, while Max Lagace (eight saves) and Hugo Alnefelt (13 saves) each saw action in the crease. Crunch forward Alex Barre-Boulet is tied with Tucson’s Michael Carcone and Ontario’s T.J. Tynan for the AHL lead in scoring (68 points), and his 49 assists are tied for second. Alnefelt is tied for ninth in save percentage (.913) and his 2.52 goals-against-average ranks 11th.
ANDY ADDS ANOTHER
Andy Andreoff has scored in back-to-back games and tied his career high on Wednesday with his 26th goal of the season, matching his 26 goals from 2018-19 season as a member of the Crunch. Andreoff leads the Islanders in goals and power-play goals (11), and is second in Bridgeport’s scoring race with 47 points. He is tied for fourth overall in the AHL in goals and shares fifth in power-play goals.
BARDREAU HITS 400
Cole Bardreau played his 400th professional game on Saturday in Charlotte, split between the NHL and AHL. The 29-year-old has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in the AHL this season, and played one NHL game with the New York Islanders in December. He’s played 11 NHL games (all with the Isles) and 390 AHL contests between Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley. Bardreau enters tonight’s tilt on a two-
game point streak (2a) and one goal shy of setting a new career high.
Bardreau, Jeff Kubiak and Chris Terry all have assists in back-to-back games... Terry leads Bridgeport with 39 assists and 57 points, which rank sixth and eighth in the AHL respectively... Ruslan Iskhakov has points in three of his last four games and scored his 15th goal of the year on Wednesday, grabbing sole possession of first place among all AHL rookies in scoring... Cory Schneider is eighth in the AHL with a .915 save percentage... Three of Bridgeport’s next four games are against North Division teams, where they are 3-3-1-0 this season.
New York Islanders (35-27-8): Last 6-3 W at Anaheim, Wednesday -- Next: Tomorrow at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET
Worcester Railers (30-26-3-0): Last: 4-3 W vs. Maine, Sunday -- Next: Tonight at Maine, 7:15 p.m. ET