Recap: Senators 4, Islanders 2

Recap: Senators 4, Islanders 2

Mar 16, 2024

The Bridgeport Islanders (20-33-6-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Belleville Senators (30-24-2-3) at CAA Arena on Saturday.


Veterans Julien Gauthier and Seth Helgeson each scored a goal, while Henrik Tikkanen (7-5-2) made 20 saves. The Islanders fell to 0-3-0-0 to begin their five-game road trip, which continues next weekend in Utica and Lehigh Valley.




Garrett Pilon connected on an early power play to give Belleville a 1-0 lead just 5:09 into the game. With Karson Kuhlman in the box for hooking, Angus Crookshank guided a cross-ice pass to the right circle where Pilon walked in and snapped a top-shelf shot over Tikkanen’s right shoulder. It was his first of three points on the night (2g, 1a) and the only tally of the first period, despite Bridgeport outshooting Belleville 13-4.


Pilon and Egor Sokolov each scored twice for the Senators on Saturday, including Sokolov’s nifty deflection 27 seconds into the second period. Nick Matinpalo, from the right point, floated a shot towards the net that Sokolov tipped en route, which fooled Tikkanen and put the Sens up 2-0.


Gauthier cut the deficit in half when he drove to the net and drilled home Brian Pinho’s diagonal pass to make it 2-1 shortly after. Gauthier raced down the right side and beat the glove of goaltender Leevi Merilainen (8-7-1) for his second goal of the week and third tally with Bridgeport. Grant Hutton notched the secondary assist at the 4:12 mark.


Sokolov answered 10:42 into the second period with his 17th goal of the season and second of the period, hustling to the net and sending home Pilon’s centering pass from the left side in transition.


The contest remained 3-1 for the rest of the second period and a majority of the third. But just when it appeared that Bridgeport was down and out, Helgeson recorded his first goal since Oct. 29th of last season to keep the Islanders within striking distance. Cole Bardreau was shoved into Merilainen by the Senators’ defense, which created chaos in the crease and left the net half open, allowing Helgeson to score from range with 3:24 remaining.


Tikkanen was pulled in the closing minutes for the extra attacker, but Pilon secured the 4-2 final with an empty-netter, beating out an icing call and scoring his 16th goal of the season.


The Islanders went 0-for-2 on the power play and 0-for-1 on the penalty kill. Bridgeport led in shots, 31-24.


Each team won its home game during the 2023-24 season series, splitting the series 1-1-0-0.


Next Time Out: The Islanders face the Utica Comets at 7 p.m. next Friday, making their final trip to the Adirondack Bank Center this season. The game can be seen live on or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.

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