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MacArthur provides cause for celebration

by Lindsay Kramer
Even by the standards of an enthusiastic, young hockey player, Rockford IceHogs forward Peter MacArthur has been known to get quite excited when he or someone on his team scores.
He's had a lot of experience in that department. He paced Boston University in points for his last three seasons there. As a rookie for the IceHogs last season, he contributed 14 goals and 11 assists.
The successful offensive attacks have sent him hurtling into the glass like he was trying to break down a door. Or zipping away from the group hug of the players on the ice to head down the row of glove-tapping along the bench way before anyone else.
"I don't really know what it is. I just get really, really excited," MacArthur said. "Something sets off in my brain. I'll give a good yell if I'm on the bench. If I'm on the ice and it's something that's caught my eye, I'll definitely get going a little over-zealous."
MacArthur figures there's only one thing that will shut him up -- winning a championship. Not because he wouldn't be ecstatic. Rather, he guesses he'd just go into system overload.
"I can only imagine what it would be like at this level," he said.
The way that the IceHogs are going, MacArthur may not have to consider it as a hypothetical in a couple months. Rockford's defense of its home ice (24-8-1-1) has pulled it within six points of the Chicago Wolves in the West Division. A large element of that run has been the work that MacArthur has done on his line with Evan Brophy and Matt Keith.
While MacArthur's goals total has dropped to seven this year, his assists haul has zipped all the way up to 30.
"People have been asking me that a lot," MacArthur said of his inflating assists total. "I don't have a solid answer. Sometimes the puck doesn't go in the net for you. When you get the puck to other people in good spots, sometimes they bury it."
Rockford's balance has made MacArthur just one of the cast members this season. Unlike his college days, he's not going to be found at the top of the team's scoring leaders. But he knows there's a lot more to yell about than just points.
"I wouldn't say I'm ever going to be the leading scorer on a team professionally. I don't think I'm one of those guys who carries a team. I'm one of those guys who helps out," he said. "Honestly, it doesn't make a difference to me. It's just gotten to a point where I want to win something big. That's what we're focused on -- winning games and trying to win a big trophy."
Mannino collecting wins -- Chicago Wolves goalie Peter Mannino is hoarding wins like a man making up for lost time.
Which makes sense, since that's exactly what he is.
Mannino, 26, has won 15 games in a row, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Overall, he's a shiny 23-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average that ranks fourth in the AHL and a .926 save percentage that places him tied for third.
Those are the types of numbers a goalie has to put up to get noticed in Wolves-land.
Mannino didn't get his first action until Oct. 31 and wasn't given a start until Nov. 15. He began the season as the third goalie behind Manny Legace and Drew MacIntyre. That wasn't what the second-year pro signed up for when he came aboard with the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent.
"They told me to be patient, my time was going to come. I tried to stay as positive as I could," Mannino said. "It's really just about a mental thing. You do get in the net, you work on the things you want to work on. You work all week in practice for the game. It was pretty difficult."
Mannino finally got his break when Legace was picked up by Carolina. Since then, Mannino and MacIntyre have formed the most dominating tandem in the league and the Wolves have rebounded from a slow start to pace the West Division.
"It's not 14 in a row for Peter Mannino. It's 14 wins in a row for the Chicago Wolves," Mannino said. "As a goalie, you want to instill a certain confidence where guys know what they are going to expect from you. I just wanted to be ready for anything that happened this season. The biggest thing is not to stop. We can't stop now."
Kolarik a legacy -- Forward Chad Kolarik is taking the family footprint and making it even bigger in Syracuse.
Kolarik, acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes organization at the trade deadline, has been precisely the dose of adrenaline Syracuse needed with 4 goals and 3 assists in his first six games with the Crunch. His effort has made him a popular sequel to a hit original act.
Chad's older brother, Tyler, played with Syracuse in the 2005-06 season and became a crowd favorite for the energetic way he tossed around his 5-foot-10, 195-pound body.
"There's definitely been a lot of questions about my brother," said Chad, 24. "The Kolarik name is familiar. I think it makes it easier. I knew what I was coming into. He's a blue-collar guy. He was well liked here. Hopefully I can be as well liked as he was."
Chad, at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, is an updated version of his older brother in terms of physical appearance, size and speed, but there's a crucial difference that sends the two veering apart. Tyler was more of a grinder than scorer, a role that banged him up and made him quit the sport at 25. He's now works for a hedge fund company in Manhattan.
Chad, the equal of his brother in the hustle department, has a better offensive game. He can relate to talk of burning a defense far better than to the concept of burning out in his career.
"I've taken some parts of his game you need to incorporate. He didn't have the skill I have," Chad said of Tyler. "He was a heart and soul guy. I mean, I'm still young. We're in different situations. He played a tough game, always mixing it up. It took a toll on his body. I think I'm a different player."
Around the AHL -- Hamilton has signed a three-year lease extension for Copps Coliseum as the prime tenant. ... Oskar Osala's last-second arrival in Albany from Carolina on March 12 wasn't too distracting. He freshened up by potting his first two goals as a River Rat in a 4-3 win over Rochester. ... The Buffalo Sabres and the Portland Pirates, currently in the second season of their original deal, have agreed to a long-term extension. ... Entering the week division leaders Hershey (4.27), Worcester (3.50), Chicago (3.39) and Hamilton (3.31) were also the league's top four teams in goals scored per game. ...  Manchester is 18-1-1-0 when scoring the first goal on home ice. ... Joey MacDonald made 40 saves in Toronto's 3-0 win at Chicago on March 14, ending the Wolves' 16-game home points streak (15-0-0-1) and becoming the 21st goaltender in AHL history with 20 career shutouts. ... Once the only AHL team that had not scored a shorthanded goal this season (zero through their first 41 contests), Grand Rapids has tallied seven times while undermanned in its last 27 games, including goals in each of its last two outings. ... Entering the week the Griffins had killed off all 30 opponent power plays during their last six games, their longest penalty killing streaks of the season in terms of both opportunities and games. ... Bridgeport goaltenders Scott Munroe and Nathan Lawson combined to stop all 10 Norfolk shootout attempts last weekend as the Sound Tigers eked out a pair of road wins over the Admirals. ... Milwaukee center Mike Santorelli lit the lamp twice against Lake Erie on March 10, the 13th time this season that an Admiral has scored two goals in a game. However Milwaukee is yet to have a player tally a hat trick.

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