Czarnik Leads Islanders over Phantoms 4-1
ALLENTOWN, Penn. - Austin Czarnik scored twice and Paul Thompson's first goal with the Bridgeport Islanders (6-11-1-2) held up as the game-winner in a 4-1 victory against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-10-4-1) at PPL Center on Saturday.
Czarnik added an assist for a game-high three points, while Cory Schneider (1-6-0) made 25 saves for his first victory with Bridgeport. Simon Holmstrom put the exclamation point on the winning effort with an empty-net tally in the final minute.
The win snapped Bridgeport's seven-game skid, its first victory since Nov. 10th at Syracuse.
The Islanders registered four unanswered goals in the comeback performance after Cal O'Reilly made it 1-0 Phantoms with a power-play tally less than 12 minutes in. With Jeff Kubiak in the box for interference, Jackson Cates settled Gerry Mayhew's pass in the left circle and provided a backdoor feed for O'Reilly, who tapped it home before crashing into the end wall. It was the third goal of the season for Lehigh Valley's captain.
Czarnik got the Islanders back even at the 17:38 mark, cancelling out O'Reilly's goal with a power-play conversion of his own. Czarnik and Chris Terry exchanged passes in transition before Czarnik beat Jon Gillies' with a low shot, under the glove, for his first of the night.
Thompson put Bridgeport ahead at 4:02 of the second period with his first goal in three games as an Islander. Mitch Vande Sompel, who also assisted on Czarnik's tally, handled the puck between the circles and found Thompson on the left side for a quick wrist shot.
Czarnik earned the secondary helper on Thompson's game-winning goal and added his third period, and second goal, at 18:19 of the third period with an empty-netter. Holmstrom's third goal of the season also came into a vacated crease with just 32 seconds to play, assisted by Terry and Parker Wotherspoon.
Gilles (3-1-0) made 17 saves on 19 shots in his Phantoms debut after signing a PTO on Tuesday. The Islanders went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Lehigh Valley converted on its only man advantage.
Next Time Out: The Islanders open a four-game homestand next Saturday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. Fans can follow the action all season long via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 p.m.
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