Grand Forks, ND – Sometimes you have to wait for your opportunity. That’s exactly what happened to UND Junior goalie Peter Thome. Through the first 19 games of the season, Thome sat on the bench and watched Adam Scheel rack up wins and accolades.
Suddenly, Thome’s fortunes changed. On January 10, 2020, against the Omaha Mavericks, the ever-steady Scheel let in four goals on eight shots. With roughly 25 minutes remaining in the game, Thome took the net. Since then, Thome has played in five games. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native is 3-0-1, 1.44 GAA and a .927 save percentage. What’s more impressive, of the six goals Thome has let in, five have come on the opponent’s power play.
On Friday night, against the Colorado College Tigers, Thome recorded the second shutout of his career with a 1-0 win. It had been two years and 25 days since his last shutout, but this one was more meaningful.
“It’s always fun in a tight game like that,” Thome said. “I think the last one against Omaha was like 7-0. This was a little more down to the wire. The guys played hard for me in front and didn’t give them too many Grade-A chances. So, a lot of credit goes to them, but yeah, it feels good for sure.”
Thome sat at the end of the bench and waited for his opportunity.
“It’s pretty special in college you get then chance to work with an NHL level goalie coach (Karl Goehring). Not just once, or twice a week, it’s every day he’s at the rink. He spends all day here, and he’s always available to chat if I have questions. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s always pushing me never let me be satisfied.
“During that stretch in the first half where I didn’t play, we had a few conversations where you know frustration might have been getting to me a little bit, and he said, ‘hey, no, absolutely not’. You got to be a man. You’ve got to put the work boots on every day and prepare for your opportunity because one’s going to come. That’s just kind of the reality. If you don’t prepare for it, and it comes and you’re not ready, you might not get another one. I can’t say enough good things (about him).”
What did Thome do to stay mentally sharp during his hiatus from the net?
“I meditate every day, Thome said. “I know that’s kind of weird. We have a great resource with Greg Lloyd, he’s a sports psychologist who works in the area. I met with him a lot of times, and he’s been great too. Just using the resources, we have here — focus on one day at a time, and not really look too far ahead.
Postgame, UND head coach Brad Berry was pleased with Thome’s play.
“He played an excellent game tonight, the fact that he made some key stops at key times, hard saves in and around the net there and his focus was sharp. I think it goes into preparation for what he’s done, and when he wasn’t playing. He could have very easily just kind of taken a backseat. His opportunity has come he’s made the most of it.”
Against the Tigers, it was a defensive stalemate. There wasn’t a lot of time and space on the ice. The Fighting Hawks had a lot of opportunities but were only able to put one puck in the twine. At the 10:23 mark of the third period, freshman forward Shane Pinto scored the game-winning goal off a rebound in front of the Tigers net. Pinto described his game-winning goal.
“Yeah, that was a pretty lucky bounce, it hit off the guy’s head and then off the wall and kind of bounced to me, Pinto said. “We got that bounce there which is huge. I thought we did a good job on the power play today. I thought we create some chances so we’re just going to keep going.”
That was all the Hawks needed as they closed out the Tigers to remain eight points ahead of the second-place Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Hawks and Tigers play against at 7:07 PM CT. (Offical Box Score)