Recap: Wolf Pack 4, Islanders 3Nov 17, 2021
The Bridgeport Islanders (5-7-1-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored three times in the first period including two from Blade Jenkins, but dropped a 4-3 decision to the Hartford Wolf Pack (10-3-1-0) at the XL Center on Wednesday.
Jenkins’ goals came just 2:44 apart and Otto Koivula added his third tally of the season on Bridgeport’s opening power play, while Jakub Skarek (5-2-2) made 28 saves. It was Skarek’s first regulation loss since the season opener in Hartford on Oct. 15th.
The Wolf Pack responded from a 3-1 deficit after the first period by scoring three unanswered goals in the second. Morgan Barron’s 5-on-3 power-play goal late in the second frame was the difference.
Hartford struck first for just the fourth time this season when Justin Richards made it 1-0 less than three minutes into the contest. Cristiano DiGiacinto fed a cross-ice pass to Richards on the rush and the latter converted on a wrist shot, low, blocker side for his first goal of the season at 2:48.
The Islanders responded in a big way with three consecutive goals from Koivula and Jenkins. Koivula’s power-play tally at 8:02 finished an impressive sequence of passes to tie the game 1-1. Cole Coskey entered the Hartford zone and set up Arnaud Durandeau on the left side, where he quickly centered a pass for Koivula’s redirection behind goaltender Keith Kinkaid. Koivula extended his scoring total to a team-leading 13 points, and Durandeau now has points in three straight games (two goals, one assist).
Jenkins put Bridgeport ahead at 11:59 of the first period, cleaning up a rebound produced by Thomas Hickey’s lengthy shot. It was Hickey’s 200th professional point and Simon Holmstrom also notched his first of two assists on the night. Holmstrom set up Jenkins’ second goal of the period and fifth of the season less than three minutes later to make it 3-1 (14:43 mark). In addition, Kyle MacLean collected an assist to push his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists).
Four of Jenkins' five goals this season have come inside the XL Center in Hartford. He also scored twice on Nov. 5th.
Hartford rallied in the second period to eventually earn its third straight victory and sixth in seven home games. Alex Whelan capitalized on a wraparound for his second goal of the season just 1:47 into the frame, and former Bridgeport forward Tanner Fritz made it 3-3 at 14:52.
Barron capped the scoring at 18:15 of the second period with a one-time slap shot from the right circle. Grant Hutton (roughing) and MacLean (delay of game) were assessed back-to-back penalties 38 seconds apart and Barron completed the comeback with his team-leading sixth goal of the season on the two-man advantage.
Bridgeport outshot Hartford 11-9 in the third period, but couldn’t come up with the equalizer. The Islanders fell to 1-4-0-0 against the Wolf Pack this season and 1-5-1-2 on the road.
Bridgeport went 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. Kinkaid (7-1-1) stopped 31 shots for his league-leading seventh win.
Next Time Out: The Islanders complete a season-long five-game road trip on Saturday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. Fans can follow the action all season long via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 p.m.