Recap: Islanders 4, Thunderbirds 3 (OT)Apr 4, 2023
Andy Andreoff capped a late-game comeback with the overtime winner in front of a sold-out crowd on Tuesday afternoon, leading the Bridgeport Islanders (32-27-7-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 4-3 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds (36-23-3-5) at Total Mortgage Arena.
It was Andreoff’s 33rd goal of the season, one shy of the AHL lead, and team-best fifth game-winner this season. He sniped a wrist shot into the top right corner that came out of the net as quickly as it went in. Robin Salo and Arnaud Durandeau had the assists, marking Durandeau’s 100th AHL point.
The Islanders also received goals from Paul Thompson and Jeff Kubiak in the first period, and Chris Terry scored for the third straight game to tie things at 3-3 with less than six minutes to play.
With the victory, the Islanders closed to within one point of the Hartford Wolf Pack for the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot. Bridgeport and Hartford each have five games left in the regular season.
Thompson gave the sold-out crowd of 7,653 fans an early burst of energy with a power-play goal just 2:30 into the game. He jammed at a rebound near a crowded crease produced by William Dufour’s wrist shot from the left wing. Salo was also credited with his first of two assists.
Bridgeport doubled its lead with Kubiak’s ninth tally of the season at the 12:03 mark, skating through the right circle and sending Reece Newkirk’s cross-ice pass home on a one-time conversion. It beat a helpless Joel Hofer, who made his 44th appearance in net for the Thunderbirds. Cole Bardreau had the secondary assist, giving the veteran a career-high 31 points on the season.
The Islanders killed two minor penalties in the opening period and went 1-for-2 on the power play early on.
Bridgeport began the second frame by killing off 1:48 remaining on Paul LaDue’s hooking penalty before conceding a goal at even strength. Dmitrii Samorukov earned his fourth tally of the season on a slap shot from the left point that filtered through traffic and past Jakub Skarek (14-14-3). It was the first of three straight goals for Springfield, which eventually had the visitors out front early in the third period.
Springfield evened the contest just 1:24 into the third when a poke attempt by Skarek hit Nikita Alexandrov’s leg at the top of the crease and deflected into the net. Keean Washkurak gave Springfield the lead 1:28 later with a redirection on Tyler Tucker’s long shot.
Terry came up big at 14:25 of the third period and scored a clutch goal to ultimately force overtime. He banked home a shot from below the goal line that went off Hofer’s jersey and into the net, knotting the score at 3-3 with less than six minutes left. Grant Hutton and Andreoff were credited with the assists.
In overtime, both teams traded more than a handful of high-percentage chances between breakaways and odd-man rushes, before Andreoff put a stamp on the 4-3 final.
Bridgeport finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and stonewalled Springfield on all four of its opportunities. Jakub Skarek made 28 saves, including three key stops in overtime.
Next Time Out: The Islanders head to Hartford on Friday night to take on the Wolf Pack for the final time this season. Puck drop is schedule for 7 p.m. at XL Center. Fans can watch all the action via AHLTV or listen to the broadcast through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network starting at 6:45 for the pregame show.