Islanders Topple Checkers, 5-1
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Cole Bardreau scored twice and Jakub Skarek made 34 saves on Saturday night, boosting the Bridgeport Islanders (12-16-3-3), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 5-1 win against the Charlotte Checkers (14-12-2-0) at Webster Bank Arena.
Jeff Kubiak, Michael Dal Colle and Otto Koivula also scored as the Islanders put up five goals for the second time in their last three meetings against the Checkers. Dal Colle (five games) and Koivula (four games) each extended their personal point streaks and Simon Holmstrom notched an assist in his 100th AHL appearance.
The Islanders have won back-to-back games overall and improved to 2-2-0-0 against the Checkers this season. It also pushed Bridgeport's unbeaten in regulation streak to a season-long four games (2-0-2-0).
Bardreau entered the contest with three points in two games against Charlotte this season and added to that total early with his sixth goal at 14:48 of the first period. Cale Fleury began a breakout from the Checkers' zone, but Kyle MacLean forced a turnover at center ice and kicked the puck ahead for Bardreau, despite breaking his stick on the play. Bardreau raced towards it and deked goaltender Joey Daccord to make it 1-0 at even strength.
Kubiak doubled the Islanders lead at 5:48 of the second period when Mitch Vande Sompel failed to move the puck through traffic from the left circle, but it came back to Kubiak for a one-time slap shot into the top right corner, over Daccord's shoulder. It was Kubiak's third goal of the season and second against the Checkers.
Koivula added a third tally in spectacular fashion with just under 11 seconds left in the second period. Arnaud Durandeau stole the puck from Daccord behind the Charlotte net and his attempted centering pass was deflected into mid-air, where Koivula connected on a backhand swing to bat the puck home from the doorstep. It was his seventh goal of the season.
Skarek (9-8-3) stopped each of the first 30 shots he faced, but his shutout bid ended with 10:43 remaining in regulation when Charlotte captain Zac Dalpe put a rebound into the empty net. Skarek had stretched out to deny Logan Hutsko's initial attempt on the power play, but Zac Dalpe made it 3-1 with his eighth goal of the season.
Dal Colle iced the game with an empty netter at 17:57 of the third period, his sixth goal in just 12 games. Holmstrom had the only assist, which gave him 16 points on the year, a new career high for the 20-year-old.
With the game virtually over in the final two minutes, Paul Thompson was called for holding and the Islanders notched their first shorthanded goal of the season at the 19:09 mark when Kubiak created a turnover along the left-wing boards and Bardreau slipped a forehand shot under Daccord's pads for the 5-1 final. It was Bardreau's sixth career two-goal performance in the AHL.
The Islanders went 0-for-2 on the power play, but 5-for-6 on the penalty kill in the winning effort. Charlotte led in shots on goal (35-32), while the contest also included one fight when Parker Wotherspoon and Luke Henman dropped the gloves at 12:51 of the second period.
Daccord (5-5-1) allowed a season-high four goals on 31 shots against.
Next Time Out: The Islanders complete a three-game homestand tomorrow afternoon with a 3 p.m. rematch against the Checkers. It's Prince and Princesses Night! Take part in a fairy-tale costume contest, Disney Moon Bounce and more! Tickets for kids 11 and younger are just $10 at the Yale New Haven Health Box Office. Fans can follow the action all season long via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network and AHLTV.
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American Hockey League Stories from January 8, 2022
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