Recap: Islanders 3, Checkers 2 (OT)Jan 7, 2024
Ruslan Iskhakov tied the AHL single-season record with his fourth game-winning goal in overtime to push the Bridgeport Islanders (10-19-3-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 3-2 victory against the Charlotte Checkers (17-12-4-0) at Total Mortgage Arena on Sunday.
Iskhakov scored twice in the game to extend his point streak to a season-high eight games (five goals, six assists), while William Dufour collected his team-leading fourth power-play goal. Robin Salo recorded an AHL career-high three assists and Otto Koivula had one assist to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, six assists).
Henrik Tikkanen (2-1-0) turned aside 34 shots in his third AHL appearance, as the Checkers outshot Bridgeport 36-27.
Bridgeport scored first just 5:40 into the game with Iskhakov’s team-leading 11th goal of the season. Koivula drifted to the slot and sprung his fellow linemate near the hashmarks, where Iskhakov stepped in on a partial break and ripped a forehand shot past Ludovic Waeber. Salo was credited with the secondary assist.
The Islanders extended their lead just under five minutes later on the power play. Dufour sailed a dart past Waeber from the right circle for his team-best fourth power-play goal of the season. Salo and Brian Pinho each recorded assists on the tally.
After a physical first 20 minutes that included a fight between Travis Mitchell and Riley Bezeau, and a dust-up involving Reece Newkirk, Charlotte got on the board 5:18 into the second period with Wilmer Skoog’s first AHL goal. The Checkers’ rookie found himself alone on a breakaway before putting a shot past Tikkanen on the forehand.
With 1:26 left in the period, Aidan Fulp went to clear the puck from the side of his net but it redirected off Gerry Mayhew’s leg and filtered through Tikkanen. It was an unfortunate bounce for Bridgeport, resulting in a 2-2 contest.
After a scoreless third period, the Islanders and Checkers went to overtime for the second straight night and the ninth time this season. This time Bridgeport proved victorious when Salo hit the crossbar with a slap shot from the blue line that Iskhakov forced home on the rebound.
The Islanders finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Next Time Out: The Islanders continue their five-game homestand on Wednesday night, facing off against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Total Mortgage Arena. The puck drops at 7 pm and the game can be seen live on AHLTV.com or heard via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.