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Bridgeport Islanders


Islanders Bounce Back, Beat Bruins

Islanders Bounce Back, Beat Bruins

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It was the back half of a home-and-home set between the Bridgeport Islanders and the Providence Bruins as the series shifted to Rhode Island for Sunday afternoon’s tilt, and it was one the Islanders needed to have. After a disappointing pair of games with the Hershey Bears on Friday and a night ago against these same Bruins that ended in regulation losses, the Islanders got back in the win column with a 5-2 decision over the Bruins. Down 2-1, the Islanders rattled off four straight goals including a pair from Andy Andreoff in the win. Cory Schneider earned the win with 40 saves while Keith Kinkaid suffered the loss with 20 stops.

Bridgeport opened the scoring at the five-minute mark of the first period with Aatu Raty’s fifth goal of the season and first of three points as the top producer from either team on this night. Raty’s goal capped off a lengthy offensive zone possession as the Islanders rolled the puck around the zone, with Raty eventually getting a quality shot from the slot to beat the goaltender.

Providence rattled off two goals in under three minutes with Oskar Steen’s fifth of the season, as he sneaked into the zone and picked off a pass between Bridgeport defenders and beat the goaltender. Not long afterwards, the Bruins took the lead with Georgii Merkulov’s fifth goal of the season, assisted by Vinni Lettieri for his 100th American Hockey League helper. It was an unfortunate play for Schneider, who saw the puck skip over his stick attempting to play it behind his net and it ended up over the line just as quickly.

The scoring bonanza didn’t stop there, as the Islanders rattled off two goals before the teams went to the dressing room. Two power play goals off the sticks of Otto Koivula and William Dufour, both assisted by Raty, continued the trend of hardworking goals for Bridgeport capped off with a good finish. Dufour’s goal came off of extended time in the offensive zone and a great one-time shot to find the net, serving as the eventual game-winner.

Andreoff’s goals put some distance between the two teams in this game, with both coming on the rush as Bridgeport’s leading goal scorer tallied his 12th and 13th goals of the season as he moved into a tie with Texas Stars forward Riley Barber for fifth place in the league for goals. Bridgeport blanked Providence on four power play attempts, and emotions between the two teams ran high in the latter stages of the second period with a pretty solid wrestling-style move from Kyle MacLean jumping into the fray.

The win is a crucial one for the Islanders, who pulled to within three points for second in the Atlantic Division and within five of the Bears for the top spot. Providence failed to gain two points to possibly pull even with first place Hershey as the Bears fell in a shootout on Sunday, as the two head-to-head games between the Bears and Bruins at the end of the month continue to loom large in the battle for the Atlantic crown, which has turned into a battle for the league crown in recent times.

The Bruins will face off with another Pennsylvania opponent for a home-and-home set this weekend against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, while the Islanders host the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday for a little midweek hockey.

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