Recap: Islanders 5, Rocket 3Mar 22, 2023
Arnaud Durandeau scored two goals in his home province of Quebec and three other players had multiple points as the Bridgeport Islanders (29-25-7-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, defeated the Laval Rocket (25-27-7-3) in a 5-3 final at Place Bell on Wednesday.
Andy Andreoff, Kyle MacLean, and Paul Thompson each scored once and added an assist, while Cory Schneider (18-8-3) made a season-high 42 saves. With the win, the Islanders closed to within two points of Lehigh Valley for fifth place in the Atlantic Division and now sit three points ahead of Hartford.
Special teams also shined as the Islanders went 2-for-5 on the power play and 6-for-7 on the kill.
Andreoff put the Islanders out front 1-0 with his league-leading 30th goal of the season at 17:34 of the first period. It was also his team-leading 12th goal on the power play, which is tied for third among all AHL players. Dennis Cholowski skated near the blue line and directed a long shot towards goaltender Cayden Primeau that Andreoff finished off, blocker side, for his sixth goal in the last five games.
MacLean completed a two-on-one rush at 6:27 of the second period to double the Islanders’ lead. Thompson forced the puck to Collin Adams in the neutral zone and Adams worked in with MacLean from the right side. He served up MacLean on the left wing for a one-time finish and a 2-0 Bridgeport advantage. Adams extended his point streak to a team-best four games with the primary helper (two goals, two assists).
Emil Heineman got the Rocket on the board with a power-play goal in his AHL debut. Heineman camped out in the right circle and slammed home Pierrick Dube’s setup at 16:31 of the second period. However, the Islanders bounced back just over two minutes later when Durandeau scored his 16th goal of the season, and career-best 10th on the power play, on a rebound from Andreoff and Ruslan Iskhakov.
The Islanders led 3-1 after 40 minutes and improved to 22-3-1-0 on the season when ahead at the second intermission.
Mitchell Stephens tallied his 16th goal of the season to keep the game tight at 15:46 of the third period, but back-to-back scores just nine seconds apart gave the Islanders breathing room in the final four minutes. William Dufour threaded the needle with a perfect lead pass to Thompson over the blue line for a breakaway goal at 16:48 before Durandeau intercepted a pass in the same spot and blew a shot past Primeau at 16:57.
Brandon Gignac snuck a wrister from the left side behind Schneider with less than 27 seconds remaining to cap the 5-3 final.
Bridgeport completed its two-game series sweep of the Rocket and scored five goals in both meetings.
Next Time Out: The Islanders continue a four-game road trip on Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. The game can be seen live via AHLTV.com or heard on the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.