Historically, wins haven’t easy to come by in Madison, Wisconsin. In years past, sweeps were hard to come by in Kohl Center. While some fans will be disappointed with the University of North Dakota hockey team’s 2-2 tie on Saturday night, head coach Brad Berry seemed pleased.

“Anytime you come out of here with a win and a tie, I’ll take it,” Berry told Tim Hennessy on the post-game radio show.

Berry continued, “we grew as a team and we’re proud of our guys.”

If you think about what Berry said, he’s right. On Friday, after the morning skate, UND found out that their All-American goalie Cam Johnson was unable to go this weekend. That’s could have been catastrophic for a young hockey team. Let’s think about this for a minute, UND basically threw an untested backup goalie, that’s never played a minute of college hockey game to the wolves. There was no layup game to get his first win. I think it’s safe to say that freshman goalie Peter Thome passed his midterms.

If anything, Thome proved that he can play at the college level. I thought positionally, he’s very good and did a good job cutting down the angles and he doesn’t have a lot of wasted movement. I also like his size. Frankly, he covers a lot of the net. Except for the first period of Friday’s game where he let in two goals on four shots, Thome was solid. Now, the UND coaching staff has some decisions to make. Cam Johnson’s status is still unknown. The Fighting Hawks coaching staff will worry about that when they get back to Grand Forks.

“Not a clue,” Berry told the media after Friday’s game. “I would say it’s one of those questions where we’ll have to get back and evaluation him on a day to day basis. We’ll make sure he’s taken care of first, then we’ll make a decision.”

Not a bad debut for the Minneapolis, MN native. Thome’s line for the weekend, 1-0-1, GAA 1.92, .935 save percentage.

With the tie, the Fighting Hawks are 8-2-2 in the last 12 games against the Badgers. UND hasn’t lost a game against the Badgers in Madison since November 22, 2011. With the tie, UND improves to 6-2-2 on the season.

Next weekend, UND entertains the Miami RedHawks in their conference home opener.

“Now we get ready for Miami in the NCHC,” Berry said.

Injuries are part of college hockey and under coach Berry, it’s pretty simple. “North Dakota is about next man up,” Berry said. After Johnson, Thome was the next goaltender on the roster.

So far this season, UND has gotten better every week. Defensively, they’ve given up more than two goals only once. The Fighting Hawks are ranked 4th nationally giving up 1.70 goals against per game. That’s the best of any NCHC team.

About The Author

College Hockey Writer, Contributing Editor

Eric Burton is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers college hockey and the University of North Dakota for Inside Hockey. Eric is the editor of the SIN BIN. Lastly, Eric was the college hockey writer for The Hockey Writers.

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