Peter MacArthur was still in elementary school when he realized he wanted to play hockey for a living.
Two months shy of his 23rd birthday, and the Clifton Park
native is on his way.
Six days after playing his final college game for Boston University, a 3-1 loss to Vermont in the Hockey East semifinals March 21,
MacArthur signed an amateur tryout contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Son of former Shenendehowa coach Bill MacArthur who played two years for his dad with the Plainsmen before transferring to Northwood Prep in Lake Placid, MacArthur had an assist in his debut, a 4-2 home win over Hershey.
He went into the weekend still looking for his first pro goal, registering seven shots and four penalty minutes in his first four games.
"I think I've gotten better each game," MacArthur said by phone. "I haven't been a minus, so that's a good thing. I had an assist my first game, and I've been around the net with some legitimate chances to score.
"They've been giving me positive feedback, so I'm just trying to continue that. My job is just to do the little things, and try to help the team get in the playoffs. So far, things have gotten better every time I'm on the ice."
Bridgeport head coach Jack Capuano and New York Islanders GM Garth Snow both scouted MacArthur at BU, where he scored 147 points in 159 games over four seasons, leading the team in scoring as a sophomore, junior and senior.
"We saw him quite a bit," Capuano said. "One thing when you watch Peter play, it's his work ethic and his passion for the game. He loves to play the game, and he loves to play hard.
"Peter skates well, and he's got good hockey sense. He's come in and done a good job for us. He's done everything systematically that we've asked him to do. I think he's adapted quite well."
Both last summer and last month, MacArthur had a chance to sign with his hometown team, the Albany River Rats, but turned them down each time.
The parent Carolina Hurricanes offered him a two-way, NHL-AHL deal prior to last season, but MacArthur opted to return to BU for his senior year.
"It was a really good offer," he said. "I thought about it for about two weeks. Basically, it came down to, I've always been someone that finishes what he starts. While I was very appreciative of the offer, and I've heard nothing but good things about the organization, I just thought I had to finish something that I started with my senior teammates at BU."
Albany also negotiated with MacArthur after his college career ended, but it lost out to Bridgeport.
"It just kind of fell through. Things didn't work out," MacArthur said. "It would have been nice to play there. They're going to the playoffs, and my roommate, Ryan Weston, just signed with them. That would have been fun, but you take what life gives you. It just happened to work out where Bridgeport was a better place for me to start my career.
"It just came down to the coach here actually seeing me play personally … and really liked me. I knew a couple of guys on the team, and my brother's pretty close. All those things put together, it's a pretty good situation."
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, MacArthur won the Clark Cup with Waterloo in his lone USHL junior season before attending BU. His family was on hand to see his first two pro games, March 28-29 vs. Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, both at home.
"They were pretty excited. They know this is something I've wanted to do since I was 8 or 9 years old," he said. "It was really cool."
A human movement major in BU's School of Education, MacArthur has some classwork left, but said he will graduate on time. After that, he'll be on the lookout again for the right pro situation.
"We just decided to sign an amateur contract, and try to show people how I can play at the AHL level," he said. "We'll see what kind of offers come my way when the season ends. I'm happy I'm getting to play now. Hopefully, I'll continue to improve, and get a decent offer this summer."
Manitoba goalie Cory Schneider was 6-0-0-1 with a 1.27 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage with two shutouts in seven games to be named the AHL's top rookie for March. Albany nominated
defenseman Steve Ward (1-2-3, plus-5, 13 games).
The top goalie award went to Syracuse's Karl Goehring, who was 7-0-0-1, 1.59 and .951 in eight games. Rats nominee Mike Leighton was 6-3-1-1, 1.51, .948 with two shutouts in 11 appearances.
Leighton was also up for consideration for March's top player, which went to Moose center Brad Moran, who went 5-16-21 and plus-6 with two game-winning goals in 13 games.
Vancouver defenseman Willie Mitchell ended a 50-game drought with his goal last week against Colorado. It was his second of the season and first since Nov. 18, making him 2-10-12 and plus-9 with 81 penalty minutes in 70 games.
Avalanche forward Cody McLeod is the first rookie to reach 100 penalty minutes in Colorado's 12-year history. He ranks second on the club with 118 in 48 games, to go along with 4-5-9. The last franchise rookies to hit the century mark were David Karpa (148) and Chris Simon (132) with the 1993-94 Quebec Nordiques.
Keith Aucoin was 1-3-4 and
minus-4 with 21 shots and four penalty minutes in 12 March games for Carolina. Ryan Bayda, who snapped an eight-game drought with an assist last week, was 1-1-2 and
plus-1 with 18 penalty minutes and 32 shots for the month.
Returned by Pittsburgh to Wilkes-
Barre last weekend, winger Chris Minard had two goals on 13 shots in his first three games back. Recalled Feb. 15, Minard led the AHL team with 23 goals and 11 power-play goals and was plus-9 in 50 games.
Troy native Matt Murley ended March with five points (1-4) and plus-6 in three games for San Antonio. He continues to lead the Rampage with eight power-play goals, 37 assists, 55 points and plus-18 in 69 games.
Defenseman J.D. Forrest was
1-4-5 and minus-6 in 15 games since being traded to Worcester Feb. 7. He was 0-1-1 in 11 March games
after scoring in four of his first five with the Sharks.
Jiri Bicek ranked second in goals (13) and fourth in scoring with 27 points in 35 games for KalPa Kuopo. It was his first year in Finland after two in Sweden and one in his native Slovakia.
J.C. Ruid of Ballston Lake was tops in goals (15), second in penalty minutes (64) and third in points (36) in 24 games for the French team Briancon.
"I thought I was back home on the farm. I put a pitchfork in my hands, and was pitch-forking that sucker into the net."
Rochester forward Stefan Meyer, to the Democrat & Chronicle, on his power-play goal with 9.6 seconds left in regulation Sunday. The Amerks went on to beat Binghamton, 4-3, in a shootout.
AROUND THE BOARDS
u The AHL will continue handing out year-end awards this week, including top goalie (Tuesday), top coach (Wednesday), top defenseman (Thursday) and MVP (Friday). …
u T.J. Fox, a rookie out of Union College, was chosen Worcester's Unsung Hero by the Sharks’ booster club. Fox is 11-10-21 and even in 64 games. …
u Worcester released Oren Eizenman from his pro tryout last week. The former RPI standout was 0-1-1 and minus-6 in seven games. …
u Manitoba center Brad Moran went 1-7-8 in four games to be named player of the week. Albany nominated Jamie Johnson (1-1-2, plus-1, two games). …
u Boston returned East Greenbush native Matt Lashoff to Providence last week. Lashoff went 0-2-2 and plus-2 in four games following a March 24 promotion, his fourth recall this season. …
u Syracuse last week extended its winning streak to eight games and its point streak to 17 games
(14-0-0-3) with a regulation victory over Binghamton. …
u Rochester played the 4,000th game in franchise history
March 28, a 5-4 shootout win over Manitoba. …
u Defending Calder Cup champion Hamilton was eliminated from playoff contention last week. The Bulldogs are the 12th AHL team to fail the make the postseason the year after winning a title, and second in three years (Philadelphia 2006).