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 Bridgeport Islanders

The Bridgeport Report: Week 18

February 14, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Islanders collected one standings point in two games this past weekend, their first two contests out of the 2024 AHL All-Star break. Otto Koivula led the way with two points (two assists), and Jakub Skarek and Henrik Tikkanen split time in net.

Tikkanen (4-3-2) and Lehigh Valley's Parker Gahagen took a scoreless deadlock into the middle stages of the third period on Saturday, a goaltending clinic that resulted in a 2-1 shootout loss for the Islanders. Karson Kuhlman scored Bridgeport's lone goal, just 52 seconds after Jacob Gaucher made it 1-0 at 7:36 of the third. The Phantoms converted on two of their three shootout attempts to edge Bridgeport at Total Mortgage Arena.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Julien Gauthier scored just 39 seconds into his Bridgeport debut, but the New York Islanders' American Hockey League affiliate allowed four unanswered tallies in a 4-1 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Skarek (4-17-4) made 25 saves on 28 shots Friday night.

The Islanders (13-26-5-1) will navigate a three-in-three series this weekend, which begins Friday night in Providence. Bridgeport faces the second-place Providence Bruins (29-14-3-2) at Amica Mutual Pavilion before returning to Total Mortgage Arena for a Saturday night slugfest against the Hartford Wolf Pack (24-14-5-0), and a Sunday matinee against the Laval Rocket (20-19-4-2).

All of the action this season can be seen live on AHLTV or heard for free through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

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The Week Ahead:

Friday, Feb. 16th at Providence (7:05 p.m.): The Islanders make their sixth and final trip to Amica Mutual Pavilion to face Boston's affiliate. Bridgeport is 1-8-1-0 against the Bruins this season and still searching for its first win in Rhode Island.

Saturday, Feb. 17th vs. Hartford (7 p.m.): The Islanders host the Wolf Pack for round seven of the 'Battle of Connecticut.' Saturday is Star Wars Night, featuring a lightsaber giveaway to the first 2,500 fans inside Total Mortgage Arena. Meet your favorite characters from the Star Wars trilogy. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now.

Sunday, Feb. 18th vs. Laval (3 p.m.): The Islanders face Montreal's affiliate, the Laval Rocket, for the first of four meetings this season. Bridgeport swept a two-game series against the Rocket in 2022-23 including a 5-2 win on Oct. 22, 2022 at home. Tickets are available now and all kids 12 and younger get in for just $10 each at the Yale New Haven Health Box Office. Doors open at 2 p.m.

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Ice Chips:

Tikkanen Turning Heads: Henrik Tikkanen has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last five starts, posting a .959 save percentage 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.

Koivula Climbs to Second in Assists: Otto Koivula is the only Islander who carries a point streak into the weekend, having earned assists in back-to-back games last week. He registered the primary assist on Karson Kuhlman's goal last Saturday, his 18th helper of the season and his 111th career assist with Bridgeport. His 111 assists move him past Rob Collins (2003-06) for second place on the team's all-time list, trailing Jeremy Colliton's franchise record by 15. He is already second on Bridgeport's all-time scoring list with 175 points.

Quick Hits: The Islanders' penalty kill is 61-for-70 at Total Mortgage Arena, the second-best home kill in the AHL (87.1%)... 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.

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Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (22-18-13) pocketed one point in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Seattle Kraken at UBS Arena last night. Kyle Palmieri scored his 15th goal of the season late in the second period, assisted by Mat Barzal and Noah Dobson. Barzal continues to lead New York with 56 points in 52 games, while Bridgeport grad Brock Nelson has a team-leading 22 goals. Next up, the Islanders face the Rangers at MetLife Stadium in the 2024 Stadium Series on Sunday.


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