Recap: Comets 5, Islanders 1Jan 14, 2023
Otto Koivula scored for the second straight game as the Bridgeport Islanders (15-15-6-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, returned home on Saturday night, but the Utica Comets (19-10-5-1) tallied each of the first five goals in a 5-1 loss at Total Mortgage Arena.
The Islanders outshot the Comets 34-31, while Utica went 1-for-1 on both the power play and penalty kill. Mason Geertsen scored twice for the visitors.
Utica built a 3-0 lead in the opening 9:45 to chase Ken Appleby (0-3-2) from the crease. The Comets never looked back. After ringing the post twice in the game's first minute, the New Jersey Devils’ affiliate started the scoring just 1:53 in when Geertsen rifled a shot past Appleby from the left circle following Jack Dugan’s feed.
Geertsen corralled a blocked shot and flicked a follow-up wrister into the top left corner at the 9:02 mark, giving the veteran forward each of Utica’s first two goals. Andreas Johnsson made it 3-0 with his seventh goal of the season just 43 seconds later. Brent Thompson replaced Appleby with Jakub Skarek, who finished the night with 19 saves in a no decision. Appleby took the loss with seven saves on 10 shots.
The Comets extended their margin to 4-0 when Zach Senyshyn sent a long-distance wrist shot off the post and in during a delayed penalty at 2:50 of the second. Simon Nemec guided home a power-play goal through a congested crease at 11:40 of the middle stanza.
The Islanders outshot the Comets in both the second and third periods, but only beat goaltender Akira Schmid (7-1-3) once. Koivula ended the shutout with his ninth goal of the season and second in as many games after muscling his way around Dylan Blujus near the left hash marks and scoring low, glove side. Arnaud Durandeau and Will Dufour had the assists, giving each player four points in the last five contests.
Neither team found the back of the net in the third, with Bridgeport firing 14 shots on goal. Tempers boiled over in the final six seconds when Chris Terry and Tyce Thompson dropped the gloves after a scrum in front of Bridgeport’s bench.
The Comets swept the two-game season series (2-0-0-0).
The Islanders fell to 8-10-1-0 at Total Mortgage Arena and are still looking for their first win at home since Nov. 30th.
Next Time Out: The Islanders return to action on Monday afternoon with a 3:05 p.m. puck drop against the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center on MLK Day. Fans can watch all of the action online via AHLTV.