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 Bridgeport Islanders

Bridgeport Islanders Continue Five-Game Road Trip Tonight in Utica

March 22, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

UTICA, N.Y. - The Bridgeport Islanders (20-33-6-1) make their final visit to the Adirondack Bank Center this season, squaring off against the Utica Comets (26-24-4-4) at 7 p.m. to continue a five-game road trip. The Islanders, who are facing a North Division opponent for the fourth straight game, are seeking their first win of the road trip following a trio of losses in Canada last week. Bridgeport is coming off a 4-2 setback to the Belleville Senators on Saturday, despite goals from veterans Julien Gauthier and Seth Helgeson. Henrik Tikkanen (7-5-2) made 20 saves before he was returned on loan to the Worcester Railers (ECHL) on Wednesday. Bridgeport is 15 points outside of a playoff spot with 12 games remaining.




Tonight's game is the third of four meetings between the Islanders and Comets this season, and the second of two in New York State. The series is knotted 1-1-0-0 following Bridgeport's 2-1 overtime win in its home opener on Oct. 21st, and a 4-1 loss in Utica on Dec. 8th. Comets forward Graham Clarke leads all players in the series with three points in two games (1g, 2a), while Kyle MacLean had two points (2a) to pace the Islanders. Otto Koivula, Matt Maggio and Robin Salo have all scored against the Comets this season. The series concludes at Total Mortgage Arena on Tuesday, April 2nd (10:30 a.m.).


Despite sitting in the basement of the North Division, the Comets have won back-to-back games for the second time this month and find themselves five points out of a playoff spot with 14 games remaining. Utica is five points behind Toronto and two points behind the sixth-place Laval Rocket entering a 'three-in-three' series this weekend. The Comets earned a 4-2 win in Hartford on Saturday, receiving a critical performance from their captain Ryan Schmelzer, who had four points (2g, 2a). Robbie Russo had three assists and Akira Schmid (4-7-4) made 17 saves.


The Islanders welcomed two new faces to their roster on Wednesday, signing forwards Alex Jefferies and Matt Kopperud to amateur tryout agreements (ATOs). Jefferies, the Islanders' fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (121st overall), completed his fourth and final season at Merrimack College earlier this month, recording 23 points (13g, 10a) in 22 games and earning a Hobey Baker Award nomination, which recognizes the top amateur player in the United States. Kopperud finished a four-year career at Arizona State University earlier this month, where he led the Sun Devils with a career-high 23 goals, tying the program's single-season record. Both players could make their professional debuts tonight.


Julien Gauthier scored two goals in three games last week, giving him six points (3g, 3a) in his first 12 games with Bridgeport. All six of his points have come on the road, and no Bridgeport player has more points on the road since he joined the team in early February. Gauthier played his 200th AHL game on Saturday and collected his 111th point (74g, 37a) between Bridgeport, Hartford, and Charlotte. The 26-year-old also has 41 points (19g, 22a) in 180 NHL games with the Islanders, Rangers, Senators, and Hurricanes.


Ruslan Iskhakov recorded his team-leading 16th goal and 42nd point last Friday in Laval... William Dufour has five points in seven appearances this month (3g, 2a)... Tyce Thompson has four points in his last seven games (2g, 2a)... Of the remaining 12 games this season, five are on the road and seven are at Total Mortgage Arena... Alex Jefferies will wear #38 with Bridgeport and Matt Kopperud will wear #41.


New York Islanders (29-25-15): Last: 6-3 L at Detroit, last night -- Next: Tomorrow vs. Winnipeg, 1 p.m. ET

Worcester Railers (25-28-4-3): Last: 5-2 L at Adirondack, Wednesday -- Next: Tonight at Reading, 7 p.m. ET

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