Recap: Islanders 4, Thunderbirds 1

Recap: Islanders 4, Thunderbirds 1

Mar 3, 2024

The Bridgeport Islanders (18-29-6-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored three times in the first period and never looked back in a 4-1 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds (25-24-3-2) at MassMutual Center on Sunday.


Twelve different Islanders recorded one point including goal scorers Matt Maggio, Carsen Twarynski, Brian Pinho, and Karson Kuhlman. Henrik Tikkanen (7-3-1) made 24 saves to improve to 4-0-1 in his last five starts, and 4-0-2 when playing on a Sunday this season. Bridgeport improved to 7-1-2-0 in Sunday matinees.


With the victory, the Islanders closed to within 12 points of a playoff spot with 18 games remaining.




Fireworks right off the bat set the tone for a rough and rowdy afternoon that featured 58 total penalty minutes. Each side had at least five power plays. Seth Helgeson and Sam Bitten dropped the gloves just 19 seconds into the contest before Eetu Liukas fought Will Bitten 34 seconds later. The early tilts got the crowd involved right away, but the Islanders quickly used it to their advantage with three goals on 18 shots prior to the intermission.


Maggio notched his second goal in as many days and his 12th of the season at the 9:10 mark, settling Ruslan Iskhakov’s pass through the left circle and roofing a top-shelf finish above the left shoulder of goalie Colten Ellis. Maggio has nine points in his last nine games (six goals, three assists) and Iskhakov collected his team-leading 24th assist and 39th point. Paul LaDue, who returned to the lineup after a four-game absence, had the secondary assist.


Twarynski made it 2-0 about two minutes later with a 5-on-3 power-play goal from the doorstep. Ellis saved William Dufour’s initial wrist shot from distance, but the rebound dropped free and Twarynski slipped home his third goal of the season at the 11:18 mark. All three of his goals have come against the T-Birds.


Tyce Thompson (pictured) sprung Pinho late in the first period and Pinho scored his fifth goal of the season at 19:23 to make it 3-0. The opportunity was created when Daylan Kuefler blocked Dylan Coghlan’s slap shot in the Islanders’ zone, which led to a rush in transition. Pinho recorded his first goal since Dec. 27th.

Springfield cut its deficit to a pair with an even-strength goal at 12:11 of the second. Jakub Vrana directed a chance towards Tikkanen from the deep slot that was altered on its way and bumped home by Mikhail Abramov.


Kuhlman sealed the 4-1 final with an empty-net tally at 16:48 of the third, his 10th goal of the season, assisted by Jeff Kubiak and Cole Bardreau.


The Islanders won their fourth straight game against Springfield and improved to 7-2-2-0 in the season series. Bridgeport went 1-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. The Islanders outshot the Thunderbirds 39-25 and have now outshot their opponents in six straight matchups.


Next Time Out: The Islanders finish a three-game road trip next Friday night with a 7:05 p.m. rematch against the Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. The contest can be seen live on or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.

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