Recap: Thunderbirds 5, Islanders 1Dec 9, 2023
The Bridgeport Islanders (6-15-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, dropped their 10th consecutive road game with a 5-1 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (12-8-2-0) at MassMutual Center on Saturday.
Matt Maggio scored his fourth goal of the season on a deflection midway through the third period, but Springfield goaltender Vadim Zherenko (8-3-0) stopped the other 34 chances he faced. Nathan Walker had one goal and three assists to pace the Thunderbirds’ offense and Dylan Coghlan scored twice.
Mathias Laferriere opened the scoring just 1:40 into the game to give Springfield a 1-0 lead and set the tone for the evening. From just outside the crease, Laferriere corralled the puck, waited out Jakub Skarek (3-11-1), and orchestrated a backhand shot around Bridgeport’s netminder for his second goal of the season.
Dylan Coghlan made it 2-0 nearly six minutes later with his first of two goals. Walker targeted Coghlan from the right side and the 25-year-old defenseman ripped a perfect wrist shot over Skarek’s right shoulder from the slot.
After a scoreless second, the T-Birds pushed their lead to 4-0 with a pair of goals 22 seconds apart in the third period to firmly stay ahead. Calle Rosen found a diagonal seam and hit Walker darting to the net at the 7:18 mark, with Walker tucking a backhand shot around Skarek and inside the right post. Wyatt Kalynuk added his third goal of the season on a Walker feed at 7:40.
Maggio ended Zherenko’s shutout bid at 10:27 of the third, releasing an unassuming shot from the right side that hit Springfield defenseman Joseph Duszak and bounced between Zherenko’s legs.
Coghlan made it 5-1 at the 13:59 mark, converting on the game’s only power play for his seventh goal of the season, tied for second among all AHL defensemen.
The contest saw no penalties until 3:18 of the third period when Travis Mitchell and Sam Bitten engaged in a spirited fight that brought significant energy to both benches.
The Islanders outshot the Thunderbirds 35-29, but fell to 1-10-0-0 on the road and 2-2-0-0 in the series.
Next Time Out: The Islanders fly down to Charlotte, North Carolina for a pair of games next weekend, facing the Charlotte Checkers to continue a six-game road trip. The weekend series begins Friday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop at Bojangles Coliseum. Both games 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.