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 Bridgeport Islanders

Jefferies' Goal Only Offense in Morning Setback

April 2, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Alex Jefferies scored his first professional goal on Tuesday morning, yet the Bridgeport Islanders (23-35-6-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 4-1 loss to the Utica Comets (30-26-4-5) at Total Mortgage Arena.

Brian Pinho and Carsen Twarynski recorded the assists, which came on Jefferies' tally at 12:00 of the third period during his fifth pro game. Jakub Skarek (7-21-5) made 25 saves. The Comets outshot the Islanders 29-24.

Each team won two of the four meetings during their 2023-24 season series.

The Comets took the lead 6:03 into the game with Santeri Hatakka's fifth goal of the season. Ryan Schmelzer barreled down the left-wing boards before throwing on the breaks and sliding a pass over to Hatakka in the right circle, who hammered home a one-timer past Skarek. Schmelzer notched his team-leading 47th point.

With just under 10 minutes left in the first period, the Islanders thought they tied the game with Paul LaDue's rebound blast that was immediately waved off due to goaltender interference.

Utica's offense caught fire in the final four minutes of the second period, exploding for three goals in 2:14. The Comets extended their lead 16:28 into the frame with a redirection goal from Graeme Clarke, which stood as the game winner. Robbie Russo ripped a slap shot from the blue line that deflected off Clarke and into the back of the net. Xavier Parent recorded the secondary assist.

Shane Bowers added to Utica's advantage 1:48 later, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play on a three-on-one rush. Chase Stillman fed a pass to Erik Middendorf near the left circle, who then found Bowers cutting to the net for a back-door tap-in goal.

Twenty-six seconds later, Parent extended Utica's lead to 4-0, corralling a rebound in the slot before pulling the puck to his backhand and shoveling it into the net. Russo prompted the shot that led to the rebound goal, while Clarke received the secondary assist.

The Islanders got on the board 12:00 into the third period with Jefferies' first professional goal in his fifth game with Bridgeport. Pinho forced a turnover at the blue line, springing Carsen Twarynski and Jefferies in on a two-on-one where Twarynski slid the puck across to Jefferies near the right circle. It was Akira Schmid's (8-7-4) only blemish on the afternoon.

Pinho, the former Comet, now has nine points in his last 11 games (two goals, nine assists).

Bridgeport finished the contest 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.

Next Time Out: The Islanders face the Hartford Wolf Pack for the final time this season in a 7 p.m. matchup at the XL Center tomorrow night. The game can be seen live via or heard for free through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.

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