Recap: Thunderbirds 4, Islanders 3 (OT)Dec 23, 2023
The Bridgeport Islanders (8-16-2-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, collected one standings point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (15-9-2-1) at MassMutual Center on Saturday.
Otto Koivula, Jeff Kubiak and Vincent Sevigny each scored to build a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period, but the Thunderbirds stormed back in the third. Jakub Skarek (3-12-2) made 36 saves on 40 shots, both season highs.
Koivula polished off a terrific sequence of passes to put the Islanders ahead 1-0 at 14:52 of the first period, scoring for the second straight evening. Dufour made a strong move at the blue line to hold the puck in before Ruslan Iskhakov returned a cross-ice pass to Dufour near the left post, who bumped a one-touch pass to Koivula in front. Koivula quickly converted his sixth goal of the season past the glove side of goaltender Malcolm Subban (6-6-2).
Bridgeport added two goals in the second period from Kubiak and Sevigny. Cole Bardreau inched in down the right side at the 12:26 mark, delayed just enough for Kubiak to join the rush, and hit him in stride while darting towards the net. It was Kubiak’s fourth goal of the season and first since Nov. 22nd in Springfield.
Less than five minutes later, Sevigny hammered home a one-time slap shot from above the left circle that whistled past Subban’s glove for his first goal of the season. Kyle MacLean and Aidan Fulp had the assists.
Springfield retaliated by outshooting the Islanders 20-6 in the third period and scoring three times to tie the game 3-3. Adam Gaudette’s 16th goal of the season was tucked inside the right post just 19 seconds in before Dylan Coghlan whistled a slap shot through traffic from the point at 15:45. Coghlan’s 10th goal of the year leads all AHL defensemen, while Gaudette’s 16 are tied for the league lead.
With time winding down in the closing minutes of regulation, the Thunderbirds reeled in Subban for an extra attacker and knotted the game with less than 10 seconds left. Matthew Peca cleaned up a mad scramble in tight created by other close-range chances from Coughlan and Hugh McGing to force the extra frame.
In overtime, the Islanders were called for too-many-men at the 1:52 mark, and 22 seconds later, Jakub Vrana directed home a one-time shot from the right circle during the 4-on-3 power play.
Bridgeport fell to 2-2-1-0 against the Thunderbirds this season.
Next Time Out: The Islanders return to Total Mortgage Arena on Wednesday to face the Providence Bruins at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. The game can be seen live on AHLTV.com or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.