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Re-Uniting in the Pros

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

By Kimber Auerbach

Peter Mannino
The hockey world is a small one. There are only 30 NHL teams with approximately 22 roster spots, but the connections with the minor and amateur leagues, whether you're playing college, junior or semi-pro, run deep. Members of the Denver University National Championship team of 2005—defenseman Brett Skinner and goaltender Peter Mannino—will be re-united this fall at Islanders Training Camp in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Islanders' General Manager Garth Snow was intent on helping the defensive structure of the organization, and signed both Skinner and Mannino earlier this summer.

"I was really excited to see that he signed with the Islanders on the same day," Mannino said. "I sent him a text message right away when the signings were announced saying how excited I was to play with him again."

The two prospects have not been teammates since that 4-1 victory against North Dakota in the National Championship game on April 9, 2005, in Columbus, Ohio. Mannino was a freshman goaltender, leading the Pioneers to its second trophy in as many years and was named the Frozen Four's most Outstanding Player, making 85 saves throughout the tournament. In the third period of the contest, Skinner got on the scoresheet when he assisted on Denver's third tally, putting the game out of reach.

"I had the privilege to win two championships back-to-back which is something that not many people get to go through," Skinner said. "It really helped in my development and having the experience I feel has really helped my professional career."

Skinner is entering his fourth professional season after a career year with the Providence Bruins last season. For Providence, Skinner scored 47 points (7 goals, 40 assists) to lead all Bruins defensemen.

"Joining Providence and the Boston organization was a new situation for me," Skinner said. "The coaching staff gave me the opportunity to play on the power-play and put me in situations that really helped my personal numbers."

Brett Skinner
Those impressive numbers earned Skinner a spot on the Canadian AHL All-Star team, along-side Islanders forward Jeff Tambellini. In Tambellini's Mic'ed Up video on Sound Tigers TV, the two shared a lengthy conversation with Skinner explaining his plus-minus rating and how he would have Tambellini's back during the All-Star Game.

The experiences that Skinner has had throughout his first three seasons are what he hopes to rub off on his former netminder.

"We have spoken a little about playing at this level but not much because he is such a confident kid who works extremely hard," Skinner said. "We kidded about some of the inside jokes we had from Denver but overall I'm really happy to skate with him again."

That work ethic and determination are what helped Mannino lead his team as a freshman to glory and is what he hopes to carry over to the next part of his career in the professional ranks.

"This is a whole new challenge for me," Mannino said. "The guys in the pros have incredible skills and are at a whole new level."

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Check out the Sound Tigers TV Mic'ed video with Brett Skinner talking to Jeff Tambellini.

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