Recap: Thunderbirds 6, Islanders 3Dec 30, 2022
The Bridgeport Islanders (14-11-5-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored twice on the power play and nearly tied the game in the final three minutes when Paul Thompson hit the post, but suffered a 6-3 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (13-13-1-4) at MassMutual Center on Friday.
Cole Bardreau collected his team-leading second shorthanded goal of the season, and Arnaud Durandeau and Otto Koivula each converted on the man advantage, while Ken Appleby (0-1-1) made 28 saves to close out 2022. Chris Terry had one assist to grab the lead in scoring (30 points) and pushed his point streak to a team-best five games.
Bridgeport’s winless streak was extended to seven games (0-5-1-1) and its skid on the road hit five entering 2023. Bridgeport is 3-2-1-0 against Springfield through six meetings. They will rematch again next Friday, Jan. 6th in Western Massachusetts.
Bardreau turned a Springfield power play into a 1-0 advantage at 10:08 of the first period, scoring the team’s fifth shorthanded goal of the season to break the early tie. He created a turnover in the neutral zone and raced to the right circle where he snapped a hard shot past goaltender Vadim Zherenko – unassisted for his seventh of the year overall. The Islanders now share the most shorthanded goals in the Eastern Conference.
The T-Birds answered with two goals in a 2:59 span to record a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Drew Callin deposited his fifth goal of the season at the 14:23 mark before Will Bitten filtered a lengthy, and accurate stretch pass, from his own end to Hugh McGing for a breakaway goal.
Nikita Alexandrov scored twice on the night for Springfield, including his first of the evening and 10th of the season at 3:29 of the second. Austin Osmanski teed up a slap shot above the right circle that hit an Islander in front and dropped for Alexandrov’s simple finish around a displaced Appleby.
The Thunderbirds led 3-1 for much of the middle frame until Durandeau guided home his sixth goal of the season from the slot at 15:52, served on a platter from Terry on the power play. Four of Durandeau’s six goals have come on the power play. Jake Neighbours notched his seventh goal in his last eight games less than two minutes later on a jailbreak rush at 17:50.
Koivula tightened the gap with another power-play goal just 58 seconds into the third. Sam Bolduc sent a diagonal pass to William Dufour in the right circle, where the rookie found a seam through the slot and Koivula alone on the back side. It was his seventh goal of the season.
The Islanders threw the kitchen sink at Zherenko and the Thunderbirds down the stretch, outshooting Springfield 17-8 in the third period and nearly tying the game. Bridgeport came up empty-handed during a 1:43 five-on-three power play in the closing minutes, in which Thompson hit the post on Ruslan Iskhakov’s tremendous effort to get to the crease. Instead, Alexandrov and Greg Printz both found an empty net for the 6-3 final.
The Islanders went 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the kill, with the only tally against coming on Alexandrov’s empty netter. The contest included 12 penalties for a combined 38 minutes, including fighting majors to Koivula and Anthony Angello in the third period.
Bridgeport outshot Springfield 44-34. Andy Andreoff saw his four-game goal streak come to an end despite three shots on target.
Next Time Out: The Islanders host the Providence Bruins on Wednesday, Jan. 4th in their first game of 2023, a 7 p.m. puck drop at Total Mortgage Arena. Fans can watch all of the action online via AHLTV.