Recap: Thunderbirds 5, Islanders 3

Recap: Thunderbirds 5, Islanders 3

Feb 23, 2022

The Bridgeport Islanders (18-22-5-4), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, came up short in a 5-3 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (27-14-5-2) at MassMutual Center on Wednesday.


Ken Appleby (1-4-3) made an AHL career-best 45 saves, as the Islanders allowed a season-high 50 shots against, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Atlantic Division’s top team. Mackenzie MacEachern scored twice for Springfield, while Grant Hutton, Collin Adams and Paul Thompson had the goals for Bridgeport.


The Islanders dropped to 2-7-0-1 in the season series.




Bridgeport started strong with a pair of even-strength goals to build a 2-0 lead by the early stages of the second period. Hutton recorded the only goal of the first, crashing the net and redirecting Simon Holmstrom’s centering pass just a fraction of a second after an Islanders’ penalty ended. It was Hutton’s sixth goal of the season and first since Dec. 22nd.


Bridgeport led 1-0 after 20 minutes despite being outshot 16-5.


Springfield outshot the Isles by another wide margin in the second (20-12), but Adams’ fourth goal of the season just 46 seconds in made it 2-0 Bridgeport. Otto Koivula raced over the blue line and had Chris Terry to his left on a rush, but dropped the puck for Adams instead and the rookie forward beat Joel Hofer’s (12-9-4) blocker with a perfect wrist shot.


The Thunderbirds stormed back with four straight goals and five of the next six to earn the 5-3 win. Tommy Cross scored his fourth goal of the season at 7:56 of the middle frame to draw Springfield within one, then Sam Anas forced home his 12th of the year to tie the contest less than four minutes later. Cross’ goal was the first against Bridgeport in more than five periods, snapping a streak of 108:14 shutout play between Appleby and Jakub Skarek.


MacEachern’s first goal in 15 games made it 3-2 Springfield at 4:28 of the third period. Alexei Toropchenko ripped a heavy shot off Appleby that fell in the crease and was brushed home by a diving MacEachern. Toropchenko converted himself to make it 4-2 at the 10:04 mark before Thompson kept it close with a power-play goal at 16:19. Terry’s one-time blast from the right circle was knocked down by Hofer, and Thompson sent it in the rebound for his sixth of the season.


MacEachern added an empty-net tally in the final nine seconds.


The Islanders ended the night 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and 1-for-3 on the power play. A physical, spirited affair included 32 combined penalty minutes and one fight between Parker Wotherspoon and Keean Washkurak in the first period.


Next Time Out: The Islanders open a four-game homestand with Star Wars Night this Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena. The game can be heard online through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, or seen via AHLTV.

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