Thunderbirds Overtake Islanders in the Third
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Simon Holmstrom (one goal, one assist) and Otto Koivula (two assists) each earned a multi-point effort on Sunday afternoon, but the Bridgeport Islanders (5-9-1-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, fell to the Springfield Thunderbirds in a 5-2 final (12-2-2-0) at Webster Bank Arena.
Parker Wotherspoon also scored his first goal of the season, which gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead early in the third period, but the Thunderbirds responded with four unanswered goals to win their fourth straight game. Springfield is 5-0-1-0 in six games against Bridgeport this season.
The first period was tight and neither team capitalized until the final minute when Nathan Walker gave Springfield a 1-0 lead. He pulled up in the low slot and received Logan Brown's pass from behind the net, finishing in close range at the 19:01 mark. It was his second goal in as many days and first of two on Sunday.
Nearly midway through the second period, Jakub Skarek (5-3-2) made a vital save on a 2-on-1, and on the ensuing rush, Holmstrom leveled the score. Holmstrom received a pass in the slot from Koivula and buried his second tally of the season, glove side.
Wotherspoon put the Islanders out front just 51 seconds into the third period with a long shot from the point that deflected off a Springfield player and sailed in past the confused netminder, Joel Hofer. The puck turned end-over-end and dropped in over Hofer's left shoulder to make it 2-1. Koivula was credited with the primary helper and now has 12 assists on the season, tied for the most among all active AHL players.
Bridgeport's only lead of the afternoon was relatively short lived, as Springfield bounced back less than four minutes later. Matthew Peca stuffed the puck home following a goalmouth scramble to tie the game at 2-2, and ultimately spark the comeback.
Springfield re-gained the lead in controversial fashion with a power-play goal from Mathias Laferriere at 6:40 of the third period. His wrist shot from the right circle beat Skarek's glove for his first professional goal, but the net came off of its pegs and led to a lengthy review. It was confirmed a good goal.
Keean Washkurak doubled the lead at the 11:49 mark and Walker capped the scoring with his fifth goal of the season into an empty net at 18:49.
Bridgeport went 0-for-1 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the kill. Skarek made 19 saves on 23 shots in his 11th appearance in the Islanders' crease.
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