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Weekend Preview: Bridgeport Hosts Utica, Charlotte

December 4, 2021 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Bridgeport Islanders News Release

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Islanders open a five-game homestand this weekend with matchups against the Utica Comets (tonight, 7 p.m.) and Charlotte Checkers (tomorrow, 3 p.m.) at Webster Bank Arena. The Islanders were slated to face Providence this evening, but the American Hockey League announced several postponements and schedule changes due to COVID-19 protocols this past Wednesday. Bridgeport and Utica will go head-to-head tonight instead of Saturday, Mar. 19th. Tomorrow's game against Charlotte is unaffected.




The Islanders snapped a seven-game slide exactly one week ago, beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-1 in Allentown, Penn. Austin Czarnik scored twice and Paul Thompson's first goal with Bridgeport held up as the game-winner, while Simon Holmstrom put the exclamation point on the winning effort with an empty-net tally. Czarnik added an assist (game-high three points) and Cory Schneider made 25 saves.


Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the Islanders and Comets this season, and the only matchup at Webster Bank Arena. It was initially scheduled for Mar. 19th. Bridgeport will travel to Utica, N.Y. to complete the series on Wednesday, Mar. 23rd. Bridgeport went 2-1-0-0 against Utica in 2019-20 (when they were affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks), and was 0-2-0-0 versus the New Jersey Devils' affiliate (Binghamton) that season.


The Comets (16-1-0-0) are the best team in the American Hockey League, winning 16 of their first 17 games and posting a .941 points percentage entering the weekend. On Wednesday, rookie goalie Akira Schmid made 23 saves to record his second pro shutout and improve to 8-0-0 this season. He leads the AHL with a 1.24 GAA and .956 save percentage. Teammate Nico Daws is fourth in the AHL with a 2.12 GAA and .929 saves rate in nine appearances. The New Jersey Devils' affiliate has won three straight games since its only loss of the season, a 4-2 setback at home to Rochester on Nov. 24th.


Sunday's game is the first of eight between the Islanders and Checkers this season, and the first of four meetings in Connecticut. Bridgeport did not face Charlotte at all last season as the Checkers were one of three AHL teams to sit out the truncated campaign. Bridgeport went 1-2-0-0 against Charlotte in 2019-20. The Islanders will travel to North Carolina later this month for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Checkers on Dec. 18th and 19th.


The Checkers (9-9-2-0) are fifth in the Atlantic Division with 20 points in 20 games following a 5-3 victory against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday. Cole Schwindt notched the game-winner, his team-leading eighth goal of the season, while Alexander True logged an assist and paces Charlotte with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 20 games. The Checkers were originally scheduled to play a three-in-three this weekend, but their game tonight against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been postponed.


Austin Czarnik had points in three straight games for the first time this season prior to being recalled by the New York Islanders this morning. Czarnik scored in three of his last six games and has six points during that span. He is tied for second on the team in goals (five), tied for first in power-play goals (two), and tied for third in scoring (12 points).


The New York Islanders returned forward Richard Panik and defensemen Paul LaDue and Thomas Hickey to Bridgeport on Wednesday. All three played at least one game with New York last month, with Panik and LaDue making their Islanders debuts on Nov. 20th and 24th, respectively. Panik had one point in four games, recording an assist in the inaugural game at UBS Arena on Nov. 20th. Forwards Andy Andreoff and Anatolii Golyshev were also returned recently. Golyshev is still looking to make his NHL debut.


Chris Terry is tied for ninth among all AHL players in shots on goal (58)... Jakub Skarek is eighth in the AHL in minutes played (684:07)... Parker Wotherspoon has points in three of his last four games (one goal, two assists)... He leads all active team defensemen in points (seven) and assists (six)... Simon Holmstrom has five points in his last six games (two goals, three assists)... The Islanders have scored a power-play goal in three straight games.


New York Islanders (5-10-3); Last: 2-1 OTL vs. San Jose, Thursday -- Next: Tonight at Detroit, 7 p.m.

Worcester Railers (6-9-0-1): Last: 3-2 L vs. Adirondack, Friday -- Next: Wednesday vs. Maine, 10:05 a.m.

Connect with the Bridgeport Islanders

The Bridgeport Islanders are proud to introduce their new social media handles on Facebook (@AHLIslanders), Twitter (@AHLIslanders) and Instagram (@AHLIslanders). The team can be reached by phone at 203-345-2300.

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