Recap: Phantoms 2, Islanders 1 (SO)

Recap: Phantoms 2, Islanders 1 (SO)

Feb 10, 2024

Henrik Tikkanen and Parker Gahagen stole the show in a terrific goaltending duel at Total Mortgage Arena on Saturday night, yet the Bridgeport Islanders (13-26-5-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 2-1 shootout loss against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (20-18-5-2).


Karson Kuhlman scored the Islanders’ lone goal, just 52 seconds after Jacob Gaucher made it 1-0 at 7:36 of the third period.


Tikkanen (4-3-2) made 32 saves throughout the evening, allowing two goals or fewer for his fifth straight appearance. Gahagen (5-4-3) stopped 34 shots for Lehigh Valley.




The contest remained scoreless for more than 47 minutes, with Tikkanen stopping 22 shots through the first and second periods combined. The Phantoms finally broke the ice 7:36 into the third when Jon-Randall Avon fired a shot near the top of the right circle that was redirected by Gaucher in front, finding its way past Tikkanen on the power play.


However, just 52 seconds later, Kuhlman buried the equalizer for the Islanders, his first goal since Jan. 6th. It was his eighth goal of the season, which immediately tied the game again.


The Bridgeport forward corralled a rebound created by Otto Koivula’s aggressive drive to the net, and buried a backhand shot from the left side past Gahagen. Just as the puck was crossing the goal line, Koivula collided with the Phantoms’ goaltender, displacing the net in the process. The goal was initially waved off, but the official’s call was overturned after a lengthy video review. Tyce Thompson collected the secondary assist at the 8:28 mark.


Both teams remained scoreless for the duration of the regulation and the ensuing five-minute overtime session. In Bridgeport’s second shootout of the year, Kuhlman was the lone goal scorer for the Islanders, and Wade Allison and Avon both converted for the Phantoms. 


Bridgeport finished the game 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. It was the first of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals.


William Dufour had a game-high five shots-on-goal. Bridgeport outshot Lehigh Valley 35-33.

Next Time Out: The Islanders begin a three-in-three series next Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Bridgeport hosts the Hartford Wolf Pack next Saturday and the Laval Rocket on Sunday, Feb. 18th. All of the action can be seen live on or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.

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