Recap: Penguins 6, Islanders 5Apr 16, 2022
Simon Holmstrom scored twice and had three points in the Bridgeport Islanders (30-29-7-4) final road game of the season on Saturday, but the New York Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate suffered a 6-5 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (33-29-4-4) at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Chris Terry (one goal, one assist), Otto Koivula (two assists) and Parker Wotherspoon (two assists) also had multiple points. Bridgeport finished the road portion of its regular season at 13-16-5-2.
Two of the Islanders’ five goals came on the power play, as Bridgeport scored twice on the man advantage for the sixth time this season. They finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Islanders remain in the Atlantic Division’s sixth and final playoff spot with two games left.
The Islanders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals 70 seconds apart in the opening five minutes. Holmstrom’s 11th goal of the season and first of the contest came 3:37 in on flashy move in front of Penguins goaltender Tommy Nappier. Holmstrom settled Terry’s pass as he charged across the blue line and cut straight towards the crease, where he went backhand-to-forehand and tucked a shot in.
Michael Dal Colle followed at the 4:47 mark by stealing a pass up the right-wing boards and blowing a shot past Nappier’s blocker from the right circle. It was Dal Colle’s ninth goal of the season, helped by Otto Koivula’s active stick against the wall. Koivula was credited with his team-leading 33rd assist of the season and extended his point streak to three games.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton responded with four straight goals to eventually lead 4-2 midway through the second period. The Penguins’ first two goals came in the opening frame, courtesy of Felix Robert and Filip Hallander at even strength. The second two were part of a four-goal second period for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Valtteri Puustinen gave the Penguins their first lead at the 5:57 mark and Mitch Reinke extended the advantage less than three minutes later, beating Cory Schneider (13-11-4) from the right circle at 8:18.
Terry’s team-leading 29th goal of the season and team-best 10th on the power play pulled the Islanders back to within one at 10:18 of the second period. He anticipated Austin Czarnik’s cross-ice pass and guided a one-timer off the bar and in from the right circle.
Michael Chaput answered with the Penguins’ only power-play goal at the 14:00 mark and Drew O’Connor made it 6-3 with his 12th goal of the season at 17:35, which proved to be the difference.
Bridgeport didn’t quit and made things interesting with two goals on its final seven shots but ran out of clock. Holmstrom’s second goal of the night, matching his career high, got the Islanders closer entering the third period, as he beat Nappier on the power play with just 10.1 seconds remaining in the frame. Paul LaDue capped the scoring at 13:49 of the third period with a shot above the right circle that filtered through traffic and sailed north of Nappier’s blocker. It was also LaDue’s 100th professional point, assisted by Holmstrom and Samuel Bolduc.
Schneider made 28 saves but saw his eight-game unbeaten in regulation streak come to an end. Nappier (11-8-2) turned back just 17 of the Islanders’ 23 shots on goal.
The Islanders went 2-4-0-0 in six games against the Penguins this season. All six games were settled in regulation.
Next Time Out: The Islanders host the Springfield Thunderbirds next Friday to begin their final weekend of the regular season. Puck drop is schedule for 7 p.m. at Total Mortgage Arena. The game can be heard online through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, or seen via AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.