Recap: Islanders 4, Penguins 2Mar 5, 2022
The Bridgeport Islanders (21-23-5-4), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, stuck it to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (23-23-2-4) in their annual “Stick It To Cancer” game on Saturday night, earning a 4-2 victory at Webster Bank Arena.
It was Bridgeport’s third straight win and its second in as many days against the Penguins (.500), who continue to hold the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, a whisker in front of the seventh-place Islanders (.481).
Jakub Skarek (13-10-4) made 36 saves and 12 different skaters recorded at least one point for Bridgeport, including a goal from Andy Andreoff in his 500th professional game. Arnaud Durandeau also scored for the fourth straight contest.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck first in the opening nine minutes on Drew O’Connor’s sixth goal in the AHL this season to make it 1-0. Filip Hallander missed the net on a wrist shot from the left side, but the rebound angled to O’Connor behind the Bridgeport net and he capitalized on a wraparound at 8:46.
A swift response from the Islanders made it 2-1 at the first intermission and was crucial in the outcome. Andreoff leveled the score just 4:10 later with his 14th goal of the season that came on a 2-on-1 rush with Chris Terry from the left wing. Andreoff, who celebrated his milestone night with one goal and a plus-one rating, also extended his overall point streak to eight games (six goals, five assists) and his point streak at home to nine. He has recorded at least one point in every home game since Jan. 23rd.
In addition, Terry’s primary helper extended his point streak to six games (five goals, five assists) and tied him for 50th place on the AHL’s all-time scoring list with Trent Whitfield (595 career points).
The Islanders took the lead less than two minutes later when a wrist shot from Thomas Hickey leaked through traffic and past goaltender Alex D’Orio (7-9-2) at the 14:24 mark. It was Hickey’s fourth goal of the season and first since Jan. 29th.
Following a scoreless second period, Jonathan Gruden drew the Penguins back even at 1:55 of the third with an uncontested wrist shot that found its way past Skarek’s glove. However, Durandeau muscled home the eventual game-winning goal at 5:06 of the final period with his 11th of the year and fourth in as many games. Durandeau crashed the net following a fantastic forecheck from Kyle MacLean and Michael Dal Colle centered the puck for Durandeau.
It’s the longest goal-scoring streak for a Bridgeport player since Otto Koivula scored in five straight games from Dec. 28, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019.
Despite the Penguins pressuring late in desperate need of an equalizer, Cole Bardreau added a key insurance tally at the 14:46 mark for the 4-2 final. He jammed home Jeff Kubiak’s rebound at even strength for his ninth goal of the season.
The Islanders finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. The contest also included two second-period fights involving a pair of unsuspecting Bridgeport forwards. Chris Terry challenged Matt Bartkowski for his first tilt since 2017, and Blade Jenkins exchanged blows with Kyle Olson for his first professional fight.
Next Time Out: The Islanders face the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center tomorrow afternoon in a 3 p.m. matchup to conclude their three-game weekend. The game can be heard online through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, or seen via AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 2:45 p.m.