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Bridgeport Islanders clinch playoff berth, review Aatu Räty’s debut

They did it. The Bridgeport Islanders clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Springfield Thunderbirds (sort of). The New York Islanders AHL affiliate is back in the AHL playoffs after a two-year absence.

Friday night’s 4-2 win was just the third win in 12 games against the Thunderbirds this season. Goals from Kyle MacLean, Chris Terry, a scorer from Austin Czarnik, followed by an empty goal from Cole Bardreau sealed the win for Bridgeport.

But clinching a playoff berth wasn’t confirmed until Hartford lost 2-1 to the Charlotte Checkers and Hershey beat Lehigh 4-3 in overtime.

With no postseason hockey for the New York Islanders, it’s good to know that at least future Islanders will be.

One of those potential future islanders was their 2021 second-round pick Aatu Räty. The 52nd pick in last year’s draft was in Bridgeport’s roster for his first professional game in North America*.

*Remember, Räty has been playing professional hockey in Europe for a few years.

How did the new kid on the block do? Well. He did well.

Honestly, expectations should be low to non-existent for Räty right now. After a stellar campaign in Finland, all you want to see from Aatu for the rest of the 2021-22 season is that he’s comfortable and doesn’t look lost. And that’s what we saw last night.

Räty was making smart and simple plays for the majority of his game (thanks for the shift Mast) and sprinkled with some high quality pieces like this one here:

He didn’t put any points but who really cares. The production would have been the icing on the Räty cake. Again, all you want to see is that the child is not lost. Obviously, he’s already comfortable in the AHL. Which is already a huge bonus.

Now it’s from there and see how far this kid can go.

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