Last season Peter Mannino was injured while he watched his Manchester Monarchs head into the playoffs. The year before with the Portland Pirates, Mannino’s squad narrowly missed a postseason berth at the end of the regular season.
It’s been four years since the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender has played in the postseason, and with head coach John Hynes already anointing him the starter for the Binghamton series, Mannino is ready to backstop his team to a long playoff run.
Game 1 is 7:05 p.m. Friday at Binghamton.
“This is why we play. We play for championships and we have a chance to do that now,” Mannino said after Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota Sportsplex.
The last time Mannino played in the Calder Cup playoffs was in 2010 as a member of the Chicago Wolves. He started 12 games as the Wolves made it into the second round and lost in five games to Texas.
After stringing together 13 starts at the end of the regular season and allowing two goals or less, Mannino enters the Binghamton series facing the team that snapped that streak last Friday. In his only start against the Senators this season, Mannino allowed five goals in half of the game before settling down as the Penguins mounted a third-period comeback that came up short by one goal.
Still, Mannino isn’t approaching the Binghamton series as a chance to redeem himself.
“I actually felt really good in that game,” he said. “We’re not happy we lost and gave up a lot, but that type of game is going to happen. My focus right now is Game 1, and nothing past that.”
Hynes reaffirmed on Monday that Mannino is the undisputed starter for the Penguins, with either Eric Hartzell or Matt Murray serving as his backup.
But like his approach to the series, Mannino isn’t taking the news too far.
“You know you’re playing the first game. In the playoffs, anything can happen,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be back here and get the start for Game 1, and that’s all I’m looking at right now.”
- Andrew Ebbett didn’t practice on Tuesday and had a “maintenance day,” according to Hynes.
- D Reid McNeill practiced for the second day with the red “no contact” jersey and is expected to be back for the Binghamton series.
- As far as line combinations, defense pairings and a backup goaltender, Hynes said those decision won’t be made until the end of the week.