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Bridgeport Islanders Visit Providence for the Final Time this Season

February 16, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Bridgeport Islanders (13-26-5-1) face the Providence Bruins (29-14-3-2) for the fourth time in their last nine games, and make their third trip to Amica Mutual Pavilion since Jan. 21st. Tonight's puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. The Islanders are looking to bounce back from a 2-1 shootout loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last Saturday at Total Mortgage Arena. Karson Kuhlman scored his eighth goal of the season at 8:28 of the third period, while Henrik Tikkanen (4-3-2) made 31 saves in 65 minutes. Bridgeport is seeking its first road victory since Dec. 29th (6-5 overtime win at Springfield).




Tonight's game is the 11th of 12 meetings between the Islanders and Bruins this season, and the last of six in Rhode Island. Bridgeport is 1-8-1-0 against Boston's affiliate and still looking for its first win on the road. Anthony Richard leads all players in the series with 11 points (8g, 3a) in nine games, but the Bruins forward was recalled by Boston on Monday. Bridgeport's Dennis Cholowski, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, has seven points (3g, 4a) in 10 games against Providence this season.


The second-place Providence Bruins are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and coming off a 4-1 win in Hartford last Saturday. Jayson Megna led the way with one goal and one assist, while Patrick Brown, John Farinacci, and Georgii Merkulov also scored. Merkulov, a 2024 AHL All-Star, has been one of the best offensive players in the league this season, currently sharing fourth in scoring with 43 points (18g, 25a) in 43 games. Farinacci is tied for 15th among AHL rookies with 30 points. The Bruins enter the weekend 13 points behind the Hershey Bears and six points ahead of the third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.


The Islanders play three games in as many days this weekend, their third 'three-in-three' series of the 2023-24 season. Following tonight's final horn, Bridgeport returns to Total Mortgage Arena to host the Hartford Wolf Pack tomorrow night (7 p.m.) and the Laval Rocket on Sunday (3 p.m.). The Islanders are 2-4-0-0 when navigating a 'three-in-three' this season. Their final such series takes place Mar. 8-10th against Springfield, Hartford, and Lehigh Valley.


Henrik Tikkanen has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last five starts, posting a .959 saves rate over that span. He boasts a .971 save percentage in his last two starts, stopping 68 of 70 total shots. Tikkanen, a seventh-round draft pick in 2020, is 4-3-2 through nine AHL starts after making 51 ECHL appearances since the beginning of last season. He has a 2.28 goals-against-average and .928 save percentage in the AHL.


Bridgeport is one of just three Eastern Conference teams that hasn't allowed a shorthanded goal on the road... The Islanders are tied with Lehigh Valley, Rochester, and Tucson for the most one-goal results in the AHL (23)... Ruslan Iskhakov continues to lead the team in goals (13), assists (21), and points (34)... Paul LaDue returned to the Islanders lineup on Saturday after missing 19 games due to injury.


New York Islanders (22-18-13): Last: 2-1 SOL vs. Seattle, Tuesday -- Next: Sunday vs. New York Rangers, 3 p.m. ET**

Worcester Railers (21-20-4-2): Last: 4-0 L at Orlando, last night -- Next: Monday at Orlando, 12:00 p.m. ET

**2024 NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

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