Recap: Checkers 4, Islanders 3 (OT)Jan 6, 2024
Robin Salo scored once and added an assist on Saturday night, but the Bridgeport Islanders (9-19-3-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to the Charlotte Checkers (17-12-3-0) at Total Mortgage Arena.
Otto Koivula and Karson Kuhlman also scored goals for the Islanders, while Ruslan Iskhakov extended his scoring streak to seven games with a second-period assist. Jakub Skarek (3-13-3) turned aside 32 shots.
It was the second straight meeting between the Islanders and Checkers that went to overtime. Bridgeport fell to 5-3 beyond regulation overall this season.
Charlotte pulled ahead 3:30 into the game when Zac Dalpe redirected a slap pass from the slot for a power-play goal. It was Justin Sourdif’s release at the blue line that led to the tally, recording the primary assist on the play.
The Islanders tied things up just 5:09 into the second period with Koivula’s eighth goal of the season. Following a brilliant poke check by Iskhakov at the Bridgeport blue line, he and Koivula found themselves in alone on Spencer Knight, before Iskhakov slid a pass to Koivula near the doorstep. Iskhakov extended his point streak to a season-best seven games with the assist. He now leads the Islanders with 16 assists and 26 points (in addition to 10 goals) in 31 games.
Koivula improved his point streak to four games (two goals, five assists) and has scored a goal in back-to-back contests.
The Checkers regained their lead just over four minutes later when Jake Wise corralled a rebound near the right post and banked one past Skarek from the bottom of the circle. Michael Benning and Brendan Perlini each assisted on the play.
Heading into the third down 2-1, Bridgeport again evened the contest 8:49 into the period. Kuhlman drove to the net and redirected Salo’s slap shot from the point that squeaked behind Knight. Vincent Sevigny was credited with the secondary assist.
Salo unleashed a one-time blast past Knight’s glove with just 2:48 left in regulation to give the Islanders their first lead of the game. It was Salo’s fifth goal of the season, which came on a dart from the deep slot. Sam Asselin and Kyle MacLean helped set up the goal, each recording assists on the play.
The Checkers refused to go away and forced overtime with just 1.1 seconds remaining, while their goalie was pulled for a 6-on-5 attack. Gerry Mayhew, who also scored the game-winner, recorded the tying goal at the 19:58 mark, capitalizing on a rebound in the crease. He ended the game at 3:33 of overtime on another rebound and on the power play, after Koivula was assessed a four-minute double minor for holding and slashing.
The Islanders finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Next Time Out: The Islanders continue their five-game homestand with a Sunday afternoon rematch, facing the Charlotte Checkers at 3 p.m. inside Total Mortgage Arena. The game can be seen live on AHLTV.com or heard via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.