The Bridgeport Report: Week 3Nov 2, 2022
By Dalton Rice | Bridgeport Islanders
The Bridgeport Islanders (6-1-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, have established themselves as one of the best teams in the AHL through the first three weeks of the season. The club has recorded points in seven straight games, tied for the longest active streak in the league, and Bridgeport’s 13 points through eight games are tied for first in the AHL.
The Islanders are led in scoring by rookie forward Ruslan Iskhakov, who has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in eight games. Iskhakov was named AHL Rookie of the Month for October and currently leads all first-year players in points. He also shares second place in the league’s scoring race overall.
Of course, Bridgeport is also led by its 10th-year head coach Brent Thompson, who became just the 22nd head coach in AHL history to win 300 games when the Islanders defeated Charlotte on Tuesday. He is the fourth active head coach to reach that mark.
Bridgeport went 2-0-1-0 over the last five days, facing a trio of Atlantic Division opponents. On Friday night in Springfield, the Islanders suffered an overtime loss for the first time this season, falling to the St. Louis Blues’ affiliate, 7-6 at MassMutual Center. Iskhakov, Simon Holmstrom, Grant Hutton, William Dufour, Erik Brown, and Andy Andreoff (PP) all scored, while Jakub Skarek (1-1-1) made 31 saves on 38 shots.
Andreoff is also tied for second in the AHL’s scoring race with 11 points (five goals, six assists) through eight games. He has scored a power-play goal in four straight games and has a league-leading five goals on the man advantage this season. His four-game goal streak is tied for the longest active streak in the league.
The Islanders traveled to Allentown, Penn. on Saturday and scored another six goals against the Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliate, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, winning 6-3. Andreoff started the scoring less than a minute in followed by Cole Bardreau, Aatu Raty, Iskhakov, Arnaud Durandeau and Seth Helgeson tallies. Bridgeport went 4-for-4 on the power play and scored four goals in the second period alone. Cory Schneider (5-0-0) made 35 saves.
Bridgeport kickstarted another win streak with a 4-3 shootout victory against the Charlotte Checkers at home on Tuesday. The Islanders scored twice on the power play and Schneider made 32 saves to remain perfect. His five victories lead all AHL goaltenders. William Dufour ended the contest with a goal on his first professional shootout attempt in the third round.
Bridgeport continues its three-game homestand this Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.) against the Hartford Wolf Pack (2-2-1-1) and Providence Bruins (5-1-1-1), respectively. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network and AHLTV.
The Week Ahead:
Saturday, Nov. 5th vs. Hartford (7 p.m.): Superhero Weekend kicks off Saturday night with the second meeting between the Islanders and Wolf Pack. All fans are encouraged to dress up in their favorite superhero costumes and a large cast of Marvel and DC Comics superheroes will be attendance for free autographs and pictures. The Islanders are 1-0-0-0 against the Wolf Pack this season following a 5-2 win at home on Oct. 23rd. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6th vs. Providence (3 p.m.): The Boston Bruins’ affiliate visits Total Mortgage Arena on Sunday after two head-to-head tilts in Rhode Island to start the season. Bridgeport is 1-1-0-0 against Providence after an overtime victory on Oct. 21st. Doors open at 2 p.m. for the weekend finale.
Special Teams Ace: All five of Andy Andreoff’s goals this season have come on the power play, putting him in sole possession of first place in the AHL. He also has one assist on the man advantage. Andreoff’s power-play goal on Tuesday against the Checkers was his 200th career AHL point and helped the Islanders boost their power-play success rate to 31.3% (10-for-32), second best in the AHL behind Syracuse. Andreoff signed a new two-year extension to remain with the Islanders in July.
Schneider Stays Superb: Cory Schneider is 5-0-0 with a 2.73 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage to begin the year. His five wins lead all AHL netminders. Schneider also ranks third in minutes played (307:11) and fourth in saves (146). The veteran goaltender re-signed a one-year deal in September to return to the organization for a third straight season. He went 3-2-0 with a .927 save percentage during the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs and finished the 2021-22 regular season with a .921 saves rate in 30 games, fifth best in the league.
Ridiculous Rookie Class: AHL Rookie of the Month, Ruslan Iskhakov, leads all first-year players in scoring and shares second in the league overall with 11 points… Aatu Raty has goals in back-to-back games including his first career regular-season goal on Saturday… Will Dufour’s first career shootout attempt was the game-winner on Tuesday and his 23 shots-on-goal are tied for most among all AHL rookies… Vincent Sevigny has two points (one goal, one assist) in the first three pro appearances… Sevigny’s first pro goal opened the scoring on Tuesday.
Sam’s Streak: Samuel Bolduc will enter the weekend on a career-high six-game point streak, with 10 points (one goal, nine assists) during that span. In fact, the 21-year-old leads all AHL defensemen with nine assists and shares first place in points. Bolduc shares second place among AHL players in assists and leads the league outright in power-play assists (6). He recorded a career-high three points (all assists) on Saturday in Allentown.
Mr. 300: Brent Thompson is the 22nd head coach to ever win 300 AHL games. He is also the fourth active head coach to reach that mark following Kevin Dineen (Utica), Todd Nelson (Hershey) and Roy Sommer (San Diego). In his 10th season, Thompson is the longest tenured head coach with his current club in the AHL. Tuesday was his 623rd game with Bridgeport.
Quick Hits: Kyle MacLean is two games shy of 100 in the AHL… Chris Terry is six games away from 700 in the AHL… Seth Helgeson played his 313th game with Bridgeport on Tuesday, tying him with former defenseman Kyle Burroughs for third place on the franchise's all-time list… The Islanders are 6-0-0-0 when scoring first (most wins in the AHL when scoring first)... The Islanders’ offense leads the Eastern Conference (4.38 goals per game) and has recorded at least four goals in six straight outings.
Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (6-4-0) are on a four-game winning streak following a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Former Bridgeport forwards Brock Nelson and Anders Lee both scored, as did Zach Parise. The Islanders have also defeated the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Colorado Avalanche over the last week. Nelson leads the club with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) through 10 games, while Lee has a team-best five goals. The Islanders face the St. Louis Blues on the road tomorrow night.