Recap: Islanders 5, Marlies 4Dec 11, 2021
Otto Koivula scored twice and Austin Czarnik had three points for the second straight game to lead the Bridgeport Islanders (8-12-1-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 5-4 victory against the Toronto Marlies (10-7-1-1) at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday.
The Islanders scored four of the final five goals to bounce back from an early 3-1 deficit, with Koivula’s second of the night at 7:52 of the third period holding up as the decisive tally. Chris Terry and Andy Andreoff also scored once and added an assist, while Mitch Vande Sompel recorded two helpers.
Cory Schneider (3-6-0) made 22 saves on 26 shots to earn his third straight win, and backstop Bridgeport’s third win in its last four games. The Islanders improved to 4-1-1-0 in six games against North Division opponents.
The Marlies drew first blood with an even-strength goal from Joseph Duszak in the opening five minutes. Duszak settled Mac Hollowell’s pass on the left wing and sent a wrist shot through traffic and at Schneider. It slowly squeezed between Schneider’s pads for Duszak’s first goal of the season at 4:49.
Brett Seney followed up less than five minutes later with his team-leading 10th goal of the year to make it 2-0. Joey Anderson jammed an attempt wide, just outside of the right post, but the rebound jumped off the end-wall and came to Seney below the left circle for a one-time snipe at 9:19.
Terry’s team-leading eighth goal for Bridgeport got the Islanders on the board at 12:06 and sent the fur flying in the annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game, benefiting New Reach Connecticut. Czarnik and Andreoff created a turnover near the top of the right circle and Czarnik found Terry in the slot, where he turned and fired a quick chance past goaltender Michael Hutchinson’s glove. Fans from all sections immediately heaved stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes onto the ice, which were gathered and donated to charity. The goal also extended Terry’s scoring streak to a current team-high five games.
Curtis Douglas’ third goal of the season made it 3-1 Marlies at 13:24 of the first period, finishing up Mikhail Abramov’s centering pass to the doorstep.
Koivula’s first of two goals on the night and fourth tally of the season sparked Bridgeport’s furious comeback at 18:07. He redirected Grant Hutton’s long slap shot from the blue line to make it 3-2 entering intermission.
Both teams traded a tally in the second period, with Czarnik capitalizing on the power play for his sixth goal of the season at 10:49 to tie the game at 3-3. But Toronto answered less than three minutes later with Jack Kopacka’s second goal of the year to give the visitors a slight advantage entering the third.
Andreoff drew the contest back even 6:35 into the frame with his fifth goal of the year and second in as many outings. Collin Adams dug the puck out of a crowd in the right corner of the Marlies’ end and gave Andreoff a pass at the point, where he guided a one-time shot into the cage to make it 4-4.
Koivula’s game-winning goal came just 1:17 later when he gathered Arnaud Durandeau’s pass behind the net and banked a centering attempt off the backside of Hutchinson for his fifth goal of the season. Czarnik collected the secondary assist and now has back-to-back three-point games and eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last four (four-game scoring streak).
The Islanders went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the kill. Hutchinson (2-3-2) had 26 saves, as the Islanders outshot the Marlies 31-26.
It was the second time this season that the Islanders have scored five goals in a contest and the first since a 6-4 victory against Providence on Oct. 30th.
Next Time Out: The Islanders face Ottawa’s affiliate, the Belleville Senators, for the second and final time this season tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. Belleville earned a 3-2 win in their first matchup on Nov. 15th in Belleville, Ontario. Tomorrow is “North Pole Night,” featuring a visit from Santa Claus at Webster Bank Arena. Arrive early for a meet-and-greet with Santa. Tickets are on sale now! Fans can also follow the action all season long via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network and AHLTV.