In the latest clash between the Bridgeport Islanders (8-17-2-0), the American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, and the Providence Bruins (15-12-2-2) at Total Mortgage Arena, a quartet of distinct goal-scorers took center stage in a 5-4 defeat on Wednesday night.
Karson Kuhlman, Dennis Cholowski, Brian Pinho, and Robin Salo all illuminated the scoreboard. Jakub Skarek (3-13-2) demonstrated his goaltending prowess by deflecting 17 shots before Ken Appleby assumed the role midway through the third period. Of note was Kuhlman’s goal—a spectacle of skill, maneuvering through traffic with a breathtaking drive to the net during the second period, marking one of Bridgeport’s more intriguing moments this season.
Despite outshooting the Bruins 37-25, the Islanders’ record against Providence this season fell to 1-5-0-0.
In the game’s narrative, the Bruins seized the initiative at 14:52 into the match, as Georgii Merkulov unleashed a shot from the depths of the right circle, notching his 14th goal of the season. Justin Brazeau and Alec Regula were acknowledged with the assists.
A mere three minutes later, the Islanders retaliated as Pinho controlled a rebound in the slot, besting Brandon Bussi. Ruslan Iskhakov’s shot set the stage for the rebound opportunity, earning him the assist on the equalizing goal.
The script took a turn 6:22 into a dynamic second period when Kuhlman engaged in a one-on-one with Bruins defenseman Dan Renouf. Deftly maneuvering around him, Kuhlman, with a theatrical deke and a backhand shot from one knee, secured a highlight-worthy goal.
Providence responded about three minutes later, with Michael Callahan finding the net from the right circle for his inaugural goal of the season. The Bruins then regained the lead on the power play, making it 3-2 with 6:40 remaining in the second period. Anthony Richard orchestrated a one-timer past Skarek from the right circle, with John Farinacci and Frederic Brunet notching the assists.
A mere 26 seconds later, Cholowski evened the score for Bridgeport with a soaring shot from the blue line. Tyce Thompson and Vincent Sevigny contributed the assists, culminating in a high-scoring second period.
Providence secured the lead for good a minute into the third period, as Callahan’s shot from the blue line eluded Skarek for his second goal of the game. Richard and Merkulov earned their second points of the game with assists.
Richard extended the Bruins’ lead 10:15 into the third with his second goal, capitalizing on a short-handed two-on-one opportunity with a shot from the right circle.
Salo narrowed the Islanders’ deficit to one with 1:22 left in the game, his shot from the point navigating through traffic and past Bussi. Kyle MacLean and Cole Bardreau contributed to the tally.
Making their AHL season debuts for the Islanders were Jacob Pivonka and Trevor Cosgrove, recalled from the Worcester Railers (ECHL) earlier in the day.
Looking ahead, the Islanders hit the road on Friday night, confronting the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. The puck drops at 7:05 pm, and the game can be viewed live on AHLTV.com or heard via the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.