Recap: Crunch 4, Islanders 3Dec 17, 2022
Three goals in the second period were not enough on Saturday night as the Bridgeport Islanders (14-8-5-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, were edged by the Syracuse Crunch (12-9-2-2) at Upstate Medical University Arena, 4-3.
Andy Andreoff, Kyle MacLean and William Dufour all scored, while Jakub Skarek (4-5-3) made 27 saves. Dufour added an assist for his second multiple point effort in his last four games.
It was Bridgeport’s third straight loss and second straight in regulation after only losing once in regulation on the road all season prior to the weekend. Despite the setback, the Islanders remain third in the Atlantic Division standings as they finish a three-game trip next Friday in Hartford.
Crunch captain Gabriel Dumont scored each of the first two goals including his fourth of the season just 8:56 into the game. Dumont settled Phil Myers’ stretch pass at center ice and skated in above the left circle before drifting to the slot and beating Skarek to the stick side. Dumont’s second goal came at 5:19 of the middle period when he finished a sequence of tic-tac-toe passes from the back door, set up by quick puck movement between Gemel Smith and Gage Goncalves.
Andreoff’s team-leading 14th goal of the season and his eighth on the power play made it 2-1 just over two minutes later as the Islanders solved goaltender Hugo Alnefelt for the first time. Daniel Walcott was assessed a charging minor after making contact with Chris Terry in the corner, and Terry responded by creating space for Andreoff on the man advantage who cut the deficit to one. Dufour logged the secondary assist.
Syracuse responded with a power-play goal of its own shortly after, making it 3-1 in the dying seconds of Seth Helgeson’s high-sticking penalty. Myers set up in the deep slot and buried a one-timer on Goncalves’ feed for his first goal with the Crunch at 11:51 of the second period.
Helgeson played his 600th professional game on Saturday and the 550th of his AHL career.
MacLean settled Cole Bardreau’s pass and outwaited Alnefelt at the top of the crease to put Bridgeport back within one, lifting a backhand shot into the net at 13:27 of the second. However, Smith answered just 1:29 later to make it 4-2 Crunch with his 10th goal of the season from Goncalves and Jack Thompson.
Dufour kept Bridgeport close with a tally in the final four seconds of the frame, snapping a shot past Alnefelt’s glove for his 10th of the year. Nikita Soshnikov, in his first game since Nov. 23rd, found Aatu Raty on the left side and Raty touched it to the slot for Dufour.
Despite taking momentum into the second intermission for the second straight game, the Islanders came up empty on 13 shots in the third period. Alnefelt made 36 saves in his fifth straight start for Syracuse.
Bridgeport went 1-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the kill.
Next Time Out: The Islanders face the Hartford Wolf Pack to end a three-game road trip on Friday, Dec. 23rd at 5 p.m. Fans can watch all of the action online via AHLTV.