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 Bridgeport Islanders

Phantoms Edge Islanders in Overtime

April 13, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

ALLENTOWN, Penn. - Karson Kuhlman and Brian Pinho each scored twice and Kuhlman added an assist for a career-high three points, helping the Bridgeport Islanders (24-37-7-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, force overtime in a 5-4 OT loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (30-30-6-3) at PPL Center on Saturday.

Both of Kuhlman's goals came on the power play, as the Islanders went 2-for-2 on both the man advantage and penalty kill. Pinho's first goal came on a penalty shot and his second tally tied the game 4-4 in the final 35 seconds of regulation. Jakub Skarek (7-22-6) made 35 saves.

The Islanders earned points in all three of their games in Allentown, Penn. this season (2-0-1-0) and completed the road partition of their schedule with a 11-22-3-0 record. Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley will rematch next Friday at 7 p.m. inside Total Mortgage Arena.

Kuhlman put the Islanders ahead 9:09 into the first period with his 11th goal of the season and third on the power play. With Rhett Gardner in the box for tripping, Alex Jefferies hammered a one-time shot from the left circle that produced a rebound on goaltender Alexei Kolosov (1-0-0), which left an open net for Kuhlman out front. Robin Salo recorded the secondary assist and Jefferies extended his point streak to three games (1g, 2a). Kolosov ended the night with 24 saves in his AHL debut.

Lehigh Valley answered with two goals just over five minutes apart to lead 2-1 at the first intermission. Ethan Samson scored his third goal of the season at the 13:04 mark, driving the net and completing a sequence of passes with Cooper Marody over the blue line. Adam Brooks registered his 12th goal of the season at 18:15.

The Atlantic Division rivals traded blows from there on out, rotating the next six goals, back and forth, into overtime. Pinho made it 2-2 at 5:10 of the second period with the Islanders' first successful penalty shot of the season. Matt Maggio found Pinho with a stretch pass behind the Phantoms' defense and all Louie Belpedio could do is slash Pinho across the hands. Pinho, the first-year Islander, scored his eighth goal of the season and second in as many nights on the ensuing penalty shot by going low, glove side, on Kolosov.

Tanner Laczynski netted his first of two goals at 10:59 of the second period to put Lehigh Valley ahead 3-2, an advantage that was carried into the third before Kuhlman pulled Bridgeport back even with another power-play strike. Ruslan Iskhakov spun at the right point and found Maggio on the left side, where he directed a shot towards the net that Kuhlman touched home from the doorstep at 5:29. It marked his third career two-goal game in the AHL. Iskhakov extended his point streak to five games (1g, 4a).

Laczynski's 16th goal of the season on a Hunter McDonald rebound made it 4-3 Phantoms at 14:32 of the third, but Pinho and the relentless Islanders tied it again with just 34.5 seconds to play. With Skarek on the bench for an extra attacker, Maggio placed a pass on Kuhlman's stick below the goal line and Kuhlman fed a centering pass to Pinho out front. Pinho has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games.

In overtime, the Phantoms settled the score on their 40th shot of the evening when Belpedio beat Skarek in tight just 68 seconds in. It was his fourth goal of the season and first beyond regulation.

Next Time Out: The Islanders begin their final homestand of the season next Friday with a 7 p.m. rematch against the Phantoms at Total Mortgage Arena. The game can be seen live on or heard for free via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown at 6:45 p.m.

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