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 Bridgeport Islanders

Bridgeport Islanders Host Checkers in Back-To-Back Games this Weekend

March 29, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Islanders (22-33-6-1) host the Charlotte Checkers (34-23-6-0) in back-to-back games this weekend, beginning with a 7 p.m. puck drop at Total Mortgage Arena tonight. It begins a three-game homestand that bleeds into April. The Islanders go for their third straight win tonight following a 2-1 shootout victory in Utica last Friday and a 2-1 regulation win against Lehigh Valley on Saturday. Julien Gauthier scored for the third consecutive game and Ruslan Iskhakov recorded his team-leading 12th multi-point performance, while Ken Appleby (8-9-0) made 24 saves against the Phantoms. The Islanders enter the weekend 11 points out of a playoff spot with 10 games left in the regular season. Seven of their final 10 contests are at home.

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Tonight's game is the seventh of eight meetings between the Islanders and Checkers this season, and the third of four at Total Mortgage Arena. Bridgeport is 2-3-1-0 against the Florida Panthers' affiliate so far following a 4-3 overtime win in their last tilt on Jan. 7th at home. Ruslan Iskhakov's second goal of the night ended the game 3:22 into OT. In fact, each of the last three meetings have gone to overtime dating back to Dec. 16th in Charlotte. Robin Salo leads all Islanders players in the series with six points (2g, 4a) in six games.


The surging Checkers have won three straight games and moved into third place in the Atlantic Division standings. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 'eight'. Last time out, Darien native Spencer Knight (23-13-4) made 19 saves for his fifth shutout of the season in a 3-0 win at Hartford on Wednesday. Knight is tied for fourth in the AHL in wins, ranks third in shutouts, and is 10th in GAA (2.46). Charlotte is led offensively by Newtown native Mackie Samoskevich, who is also tied for fifth among AHL rookies in scoring (44 points). Former Bridgeport defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel joined the Checkers in a Mar. 8th trade with the Chicago Wolves for Jake Wise. Vande Sompel played 204 games with Bridgeport from 2017-22.


Julien Gauthier will try to score a goal for the fourth straight game tonight, which would be the longest streak for any Bridgeport player this season and tied for the longest of Gauthier's career. The 26-year-old has scored in four of his last five games and has four of the Islanders' last six goals in regulation. However, all eight (5g, 3a) of his points with Bridgeport have come solely on the road. Only two other Islanders have strung together a three-game goal streak this season: William Dufour (Jan. 7-Jan. 13) and Matt Maggio (Mar. 2-Mar. 8).


Ruslan Iskhakov has four points (2g, 2a) in his last five games and collected three points on the road last weekend. Iskhakov leads Bridgeport in goals (17), assists (27), points (44), power-play points (12) and game-winning goals (5). His 17th goal of the season on Saturday tied his career high and was his first game winner this year that didn't come in overtime. The two-time AHL All-Star has seven points (2g, 5a) in 12 career games against Charlotte.


Alex Jefferies, the New York Islanders' fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (121st overall), made his professional debut last Friday and notched one assist... The Islanders are 5-2-1-1 in their last nine home games... Bridgeport has gone past regulation 17 times this season, tied for fourth most in the AHL... Matt Kopperud, who signed an ATO with Bridgeport out of Arizona State University on Mar. 20th, is looking to make his professional debut.


New York Islanders (31-26-15): Last 3-2 W at Florida, last night - Next: Tomorrow at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m. ET

Worcester Railers (28-28-5-3): Last: 5-2 W vs. Newfoundland, Wednesday - Next: Tonight vs. Newfoundland, 7:05 p.m. ET

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