Recap: Comets 4, Islanders 1Dec 8, 2023
Otto Koivula scored for the fourth straight road game and extended his point streak to a season-best four games overall, but the Bridgeport Islanders (6-14-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, fell to the Utica Comets (8-8-3-0) in a 4-1 loss at the Adirondack Bank Center on Friday.
Koivula has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games, and passed Jeff Hamilton (2003-06) for third place on the team’s all-time scoring list with his 157th career point. He tied Trent Hunter (2001-03) for eighth place on the club’s all-time goals list (60).
The Comets raced out to a 3-0 advantage before Koivula got the Islanders on the board midway through the second period. Tyler Wotherspoon forced home Ryan Schmelzer’s back-door feed just 5:10 into the game to give Utica a lead that it wouldn’t surrender. Graham Clarke, who had a game-high three points for the Comets (one goal, two assists), registered his seventh goal of the season at 1:24 of the middle frame to make it 2-0.
Clarke then set up Santeri Hatakka about eight minutes later to make it 3-0 at the 9:35 mark.
Koivula beat Nico Daws (1-0-0) at 12:11 of the second on a wrist shot from the left side following Ruslan Iskhakov’s spinning setup. Koivula elevated a shot over Daws’ right shoulder and Iskhakov earned his team-leading 17th point of the season. Paul LaDue was awarded his third helper of the year with the secondary assist.
The Islanders outshot Utica 15-6 in the third period, but Daws was spectacular in his first game back from offseason hip surgery. He outdueled Jakub Skarek (3-10-1), who ended the night with 21 saves. Max Willman tallied an empty-net goal at 18:50 of the third to solidify the 4-1 final.
Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play. Bridgeport outshot Utica 32-25, limiting its opponent to less than 30 shots for the fourth straight contest.
The Islanders are 1-1-0-0 against the Comets, facing New Jersey’s affiliate again on Mar. 22nd and Apr. 2nd.
Next Time Out: The Islanders continue a season-long, six-game road trip tomorrow night with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. The game can be seen live on AHLTV.com or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.