Things were looking incredibly grim for the Bridgeport Islanders halfway through their home-opener Saturday night against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Having already lost to the T-Birds, 3-1, the previous night, the Islanders quickly fell behind 3-0. Chances for their first win of the season were becoming slim.
Enter our old friend, Michael Dal Colle, who on the power play, got the home team on the board. Goals by Arnaud Durandeau and Chris Terry in the third forced overtime.
Enter our new friend, Robin Salo, who fired home a drop pass from Andy Andreoff passed Thunderbirds goalie, Charlie Lindgren for the OT winner and first win of the season.
Salo, the 46th overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft has acclimated nicely to North America. The 23-year-old defenseman had a strong training camp for the NHL Islanders and has four points in six games (all in the past two games) for the AHL Islanders.
“There was a good vibe (going to overtime) because we made a good comeback,” Salo told the CT Post. “We were down 3-0, and we got those, tied the game, it just felt like we had the flow in the game. I felt right away that we’re going to win this one.”
Dal Colle, who is back in the AHL for the first time since March 2019 has gotten off to a nice start, two goals, two assists in his first four games. The fifth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft was not qualified by Lou Lamoriello in the offseason. There was little doubt that the 25-year-old was not headed to Islanders training camp since he was begrudgingly wearing a Jets jersey at a team outing in a game against the New England Patriots.
The Islanders built upon the momentum from Saturday’s win against Springfield with a 3-0 shutout against the Laval Rocket.
Jakub Skarek all stopped 37 shots by the Rocket to record his 2nd career AHL shutout. Anatolli Golyshev scored the first two of the game, giving him three in his first four career AHL games. Having the Russian involved in the scoring is definitely a way to convince to stay in the AHL and not return to Russia anytime soon.
Terry put the bow on a second-straight Islanders win with an empty-net goal. Terry, who signed in the offseason, is currently tied for the AHL lead with four goals, was brought in to do just that, score goals.
Not all was sunshine and rainbows in Bridgeport this week. The home opener, which was the first game in front of fans since March 11, 2020 drew 3,460. Fans, perhaps confused about the change from Sound Tigers to Islanders or just didn’t care, started “Lets Go Tigers” chants throughout the first couple of periods.
Sunday’s attendance was announced at 1,723. It is the eight-smallest crowd in team history and the second-smallest on a weekend. Opening night usually draws a nice-size crowd. Failing to fill half of the 8,400 seat for hockey could be a cause for concern.
There are a few factors as to why the crowd was at an almost record low yesterday. It was a beautiful Fall day, many were outside picking pumpkins. The Jets, Giants and Patriots were all playing in the afternoon. The city of Bridgeport has an indoor mask mandate. It could be a reason to turn fans away from the Webster Bank Arena.
The Islanders continue their home stand next weekend against the Providence Bruins and Hartford Wolf Pack.