Recap: Bears 4, Islanders 2Dec 9, 2022
The Bridgeport Islanders (13-5-4-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, let an early lead slip away and suffered their second straight loss in a 4-2 setback to the Hershey Bears (16-5-2-0) at Total Mortgage Arena on Friday.
Cory Schneider (9-2-1) kept the Islanders in it with a season-high 37 saves on 41 shots, while Ruslan Iskhakov and Cole Bardreau each scored. Another reason Bridgeport stayed close was its penalty kill, which ended the night a perfect 6-for-6.
Iskhakov started the scoring just 1:34 into the game, using his speed to blow past defenseman Vincent Iorio in the neutral zone. He snuck a backhand shot under Bears’ goaltender Zach Fucale for his third goal in the last four games and his seventh of the season. Chris Terry had the only assist, giving him 12 in his last seven games.
Hershey evened the score with less than three minutes left in the first period when Mike Vecchione sent a forehand shot past Schneider after a spinning, backhand feed from Ethen Frank on the right side. It was Vecchione’s first of two goals in the contest and first of four points (two goals, two assists). Frank also recorded a career-best four-point night (one goal, three assists).
Bridgeport killed off three minor penalties in the opening frame, but allowed the Bears to gain a 21-10 lead in the shot column. Schneider’s 20 first-period saves tied a league-wide season high.
Mike Sgarbossa gave Hershey a 2-1 lead 4:16 into the second period with his fifth tally of the season. Vecchione and Frank teamed up to create a two-on-one rush and were both rewarded with assists.
Vecchione’s second goal of the night with just over three minutes left in the middle frame gave Hershey a two-goal cushion, and its eventual game-winner, heading into the final period. Frank had the only assist.
The Islanders cut their deficit back to one goal just 22 seconds into the third period when Bardreau redirected Parker Wotherspoon’s long shot from the point for his sixth goal of the season.
Brent Thompson pulled Schneider for an extra attacker with just over a minute left, and the Islanders nearly tied it with Dennis Cholowski’s slap shot that fell loose in the crease. However, Andy Andreoff and Arnaud Durandeau couldn’t find the rebound and Frank sent home an empty-net goal with 47 seconds to play.
The Islanders went 0-for-1 on the power play and fell to 0-1-2-0 against Hershey this season.
Next Time Out: The Islanders complete a three-game homestand with their annual "Teddy Bear Toss" contest tomorrow night. The puck drops at 7 p.m. between the Islanders and Providence Bruins at Total Mortgage Arena. Tickets are on sale now!