The Bridgeport Report: Week 8Dec 5, 2023
Dennis Cholowski, Otto Koivula and Kyle MacLean all extended personal scoring streaks to three games this past weekend in a home-and-home series against the Providence Bruins.
The Islanders (6-13-1-0) scored three goals in both games against the Bruins, including once shorthanded, once on the power play and once at even strength in a 6-3 loss at Amica Mutual Pavilion on Friday. Karson Kuhlman had one goal and one assist against his former team, while Tyce Thompson notched an assist in his Bridgeport debut. The Islanders hung with Boston’s affiliate in the first and third periods, but surrendered five goals in the second, which was too much to overcome.
Twenty-four hours later, MacLean scored once and added an assist, and Koivula had two helpers, as the Islanders suffered a 4-3 loss in the rematch at Total Mortgage Arena. Cole Bardreau’s second goal of the season came 1:58 into the third to give the Isles their quickest goal to begin a period this season. Ken Appleby (3-4-0) made 18 saves in his seventh appearance.
Bridgeport embarks on a season-long, six-game road trip this weekend, beginning with a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Utica Comets (7-8-3-0) at Adirondack Bank Center on Friday. Other stops on the trip including Springfield, Charlotte and Hartford. The Islanders won’t return to Total Mortgage Arena until Dec. 27th. All games can be seen live on AHLTV or heard for free on the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.
The Week Ahead:
Friday, Dec. 8th at Utica (7 p.m.): The Islanders face New Jersey’s affiliate for the second time this season and their first of two visits to the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. Bridgeport hasn’t seen the Comets since a 2-1 win in its home opener on Oct. 21st, when Robin Salo ended the game 73 seconds into overtime and Matt Maggio scored his first pro goal.
Saturday, Dec. 9th at Springfield (7 p.m.): The Islanders and T-Birds square off in the fourth of 12 meetings this season, and the second of six at MassMutual Center. Bridgeport is 2-1-0-0 against the St. Louis Blues’ affiliate. The home team has won each of the first three games.
Three’s Company: Dennis Cholowski, Otto Koivula and Kyle MacLean all take three-game point streaks into the weekend. No one has had a longer streak for the Islanders this season. Cholowski has three points (one goal, two assists) over that span and leads the team with 11 assists this season. MacLean paces Bridgeport with five points (three goals, two assists) in the last three games, while Koivula has four points (one goal, three assists) during that time. Koivula has also scored a goal in three straight games on the road.
Koivula Ties Hamilton: Otto Koivula had two assists against Providence on Saturday, tying him with Jeff Hamilton (2002-06) for third place on the team’s all-time scoring list (156 points). The 25-year-old has 59 goals and 97 assists in 238 career games with Bridgeport dating back to his AHL debut on Oct. 6, 2018. Koivula scored his third goal of the season this past Friday and closed to within one goal of Trent Hunter (60, 2001-03) for eighth on the team’s all-time list.
Sporty Special Teams: The Islanders have scored a power-play goal in four straight games and five of their last six – their best stretch of the season. They are 4-for-14 in four games since Nov. 25th (28.6%) and 5-for-17 since Nov. 19th (29.4%). On the other end, Bridgeport’s penalty kill is a whopping 19-for-21 over its last eight games and now leads the AHL outright in success rate (88.1%) and fewest power-play goals allowed (8).
Quick Hits: Jeff Kubiak played his 290th game with Bridgeport on Saturday, tying Steven Regier (2004-08) for sixth place on the team’s all-time list… Dennis Cholowski is tied for 13th among AHL defensemen with 13 points… Jakub Skarek is third among all AHL goaltenders in minutes played (770:33)… Robin Salo is in line to play his 100th AHL game this upcoming Saturday night in Springfield… The Islanders have held their opponents to less than 30 shots in three straight games and now rank seventh in the league in shots allowed per game (27.80).
Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (10-7-6) begin a six-game homestand this evening, looking to build on back-to-back road wins in Carolina and Florida last week. The Islanders beat the defending Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers on Saturday night, helped by Anders Lee’s fifth goal of the season and Simon Holmstrom’s seventh tally. Julien Gauthier’s first goal as an Islander proved to be the difference at Amerant Bank Arena. New York hosts San Jose tonight (7:30 p.m.) and Columbus on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) to open the lengthy homestand at UBS Arena.
By Alan Fuehring | Bridgeport Islanders