After sitting on the Bench on Friday night, Thome backstopped UND to a 5-2 win.

Thome Backstops UND to 5-2 Win Over DU

UND senior goalie Peter Thome hasn’t played a lot during the 2020-21 season. He hadn’t played in a game since January 17, 2021. Entering Saturday’s game against the Denver Pioneers, Thome didn’t expect to play. With Adam Scheel being held out, due to a lower-body injury, Thome got the nod. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native made the most of his opportunity, getting his second win of the season and helping the Fighting Hawks solidify their lead atop of the NCHC standings.

“I originally thought I wasn’t going to play,” Thome said. “I talked to Sheeler last night after the game he thought it was just a charley horse, a dead-leg type of thing and he’d be good for today. I knew there was a chance, so, I just prepared like I was going to. Bub’s came and told me that he’s having trouble putting weight on it.”

Thome battled rust early, but settled down and looked pretty comfortable as the game progressed. He stopped 18-of-20 shots, 13 in the first period.  In the third period, Thome only faced two shots. UND faced a five-on-three penalty kill but the Pioneers nothing got through to the UND net. The players in front of him did a great job limiting the Pioneers offensive opportunities.

“I couldn’t be happier for him. Peters a guy that’s a team guy,” head coach Brad Berry said. “He works his tail off, and his career hasn’t been the easiest for him here at North Dakota. When he’s got an opportunity, he’s usually made the most of it.

“Coming in after not playing in a while. I know our guys were fired up. I think it was kind of a thing when we knew today that he was going into the lineup, you know guys were very happy. They wanted to play hard for him, and you can see it, especially the last 40 minutes, digging in for him. He made some big saves.  It’s nice to know that he come in and do the job anytime.”

Thome’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.

“That guy works so hard,” Jasper Weatherby said. “He’s always worked on his game. Some guys don’t get to play as much. I avoid positions like that, but he works so hard.”

For most of the season, UND has gotten balanced scoring from their forward lines. Saturday against Denver, it was no different. The Hawks got two goals from Jasper Weatherby, and goals from Shane Pinto, Collin Adams, and Judd Caulfield. After going pointless in six games, Weatherby has scored five goals and six points in the last four games. With his goal on Saturday, Pinto extended his point streak to six games,  scoring nine goals and 11 points.

The question that everyone wants to know: how long is Scheel going to be out? Berry said that if this had been an NCHC playoff game or an NCAA game, he probably would’ve played.

“I haven’t seen him since probably early afternoon here but I would probably say it’s very, very, very, short term, I would say he’s day-to-day but I would say he’d be ready for next week.”

With the win, the Fighting Hawks improve to 15-4-1 and lead the NCHC with 44 points. Here are the updated standings. The St Cloud State Huskies are in second place with 40 points. After being swept, Duluth slips to third place with 39 points. The Omaha Mavericks sit in fourth place with 38 points. With UND sweeping DU, SCSU splitting with Miami, and WMU sweeping UMD, it looks like the Hawks are closing in on a second straight Penrose Cup.

Next weekend, the Hawks entertain the Omaha Mavericks. The Hawks play four games against the Mavericks, three of them will be at the Ralph.