Providence, RI– As an offensively starved team to begin with, the Bridgeport Islanders didn’t do much to feed their appetite as they spent the majority of their time at Amica Mutual Pavilion on Sunday playing shorthanded.
In turn, Bridgeport fell to the Providence Bruins by a final of 2-0 for its fifth loss in its last six games.
Luke Toporowski broke a scoreless tie for Providence by burying a rebound chance from the right circle at 10:55 of the third period. Anthony Richard scored an empty-net goal for Providence with 12 seconds left to play, sealing the win for the Bruins.
Bridgeport goalie Jakub Skarek did all he could to keep the Islanders in the game, putting on his best performance of the season by making 38 saves on 39 shots. But once again, he didn’t receive the same support from his teammates.
The Islanders rarely challenged Providence goalie Michael Dipietro, as he turned away all 21 shots that came his way for his fourth shutout of the season.
Bridgeport’s best opportunity to score came as they went on the man-advantage down 1-0 with under 10 minutes to play in the third period. The power play was quickly negated as Ruslan Iskhakov was called for a trip. In total, the penalty box door opened for the Islanders five times.
One of those instances came near the end of the second period.
Despite a scoreless tie indicating a lack of action in the game, the energy on the ice said otherwise. Tyce Thompson was at the center of the tension as he jawed with seemingly every Bruin in sight after Robin Salo took a big hit behind the play.
Thompson was coaxed back to the bench but eventually found a dance partner in Providence’s Dan Rendouf.
Tyce Thompson drops the gloves. pic.twitter.com/UQ2S5Cp1uZ
— Andrew Fantucchio (@A_Fantucchio) January 14, 2024
The scrap boosted the Islanders’ morale but ultimately did nothing for their ability to score. Sunday’s shutout was the fifth they’ve suffered this season.
The goalless effort brought an end to multiple Bridgeport hot streaks. Prior to Sunday, William Dufour had goals in three straight contests, and Ishkakov entered action with 14 points in his last 10 games.
Meanwhile, Skarek remains without a win since defeating Providence back on Nov. 19.
Sunday’s game was the second of three in three days for Bridgeport. The Islanders return home to Total Mortgage Arena on Monday for a matinee matchup with the AHL’s top team in the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.