Recap: Islanders 6, Thunderbirds 2

Recap: Islanders 6, Thunderbirds 2

Jan 16, 2023

The Bridgeport Islanders (16-15-6-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored four times in the second period and six times in the game – matching a season high in both situations – in a 6-2 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds (15-17-1-4) at MassMutual Center on Monday.


Ruslan Iskhakov equaled his career high with three points (one goal, two assists), while Aatu Raty and Arnaud Durandeau both recorded one goal and one assist. Andy Andreoff and Chris Terry added two assists each and Cory Schneider (12-3-2) set new season bests in saves (41) and shots faced (43).


The Islanders improved to 3-2-3-0 against the Thunderbirds this season and handed their division rival its fourth straight loss overall.




Despite Bridgeport’s dominating effort and perhaps its most complete game of the season, the Thunderbirds struck first just 1:50 into the MLK Day matchup. Schneider made a pad save on Austin Osmanki’s hard shot between the circles before Steven Jandric sent the rebound back to the slot for Bitten’s 12th goal of the season.


The Islanders responded with each of the next six goals, including four at even strength, one shorthanded and one on the power play.


Raty tied the game 1-1 at the 4:31 mark with his second goal in the last three games and his seventh in the AHL this season, beating Joel Hofer (11-10-4) above the right shoulder on a perfect wrist shot following Chris Terry’s drop pass near the top of the right circle. Jeff Kubiak striped Matthew Peca while shorthanded about 10 minutes later and charged ahead for a two-on-one that led to the go-ahead goal at 10:41. Kubiak blew his sixth goal of the season past Hofer’s glove, which put Bridgeport into a tie for fifth in the AHL with six shorthanded goals.


William Dufour, Cole Bardreau, Iskhakov and Durandeau all scored in the second period, putting four goals past Hofer on just 13 shots to chase him from the game. Dufour made it 3-1 at the 7:33 mark by reaching out at the side of the crease to settle a loose puck and tuck it inside the left post. It was Dufour’s 13th goal of the season, tying him for fourth place among all rookies in the AHL.


Bardreau’s 10th goal of the season came six minutes later on a delayed penalty to make it 4-1. Koivula was tripped in front following Samuel Bolduc’s distant shot, but Koivula made an acrobatic, highlight-reel pass to Bardreau while falling down and Bardreau capitalized.


Iskhakov buried his ninth goal of the season from Raty and Terry at 16:38 of the second period, and Durandeau collected a power-play goal less than two minutes later, as Bridgeport’s lead ballooned to 6-1. Iskhakov found Andy Andreoff near the bottom of the left circle for a quick cross-crease pass to Durandeau.


Vadim Zherenko replaced Hofer in the Springfield crease to begin the third period and stopped all five shots in 20 minutes of work. Matthew Highmore capped the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:57 of the third, his eighth of the season with Paul LaDue off for tripping.


The Islanders went 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. Springfield led in shots on goal, 43-32.


Next Time Out: The Islanders return to Total Mortgage Arena on Friday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Rochester Americans. Tickets are on sale now. Fans can watch all of the action online via AHLTV.

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