Thome Excels as Johnson Remains Sidelined for UND
Freshman Keeping His Team on Winning Path
CHN Staff Report
While senior incumbent goaltender Cam Johnson remains out with an injury, North Dakota freshman Peter Thome continues to step up.
After going 1-0-1 at Wisconsin last weekend in his first college action, Thome made his first start at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday, leading the Fighting Hawks to a 4-1 win over Miami.
Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury prior to last Friday's game against Wisconsin, and remains out for an indefinite amount of time.
Meanwhile, Thome is holding down the fort just fine, stopping 27 shots Friday against Miami to improve North Dakota's record to 7-2-2.
It's reminiscent of two seasons ago, when Johnson went down with an injury early in the season, and Matt Hrynkiw played 11 games and kept UND on a path to what was an eventual national championsip.
The difference is that Hrynkiw was a 5-foot-10 junior at the time who had never played, and didn't play much after that. Thome is a 6-4 freshman from Minneapolis who was brought in as the heir apparent to Johnson.
“He’s really settled in and played his game well,” Hrynkiw told the Grand Forks Herald. “He understands his keys better than a lot of goalies. He sticks to them very well. He has some unique things as a big guy with athleticism, but he knows what to do to have the best chance of success. Hopefully he can keep that going as go forward because it seems to be working.”
Thome will get another start tonight against Miami. He'll continue to do so in his plain white mask, as he awaits a newly-painted one, akin to what all goaltenders do these days.
But old-fashioned plain white might stick around for a while, if things keep going like this.
"I was thinking about that after the game," Thome said. "I thought, if it comes in, what do I do? ... I think honestly, I'll wear the white one until I lose," he said, pausing long enough to knock on a wood table for good luck.
Meanwhile, North Dakota coach Brad Berry is comfortable settling back and letting Thome run with things for a while.
“Cam is a special player and when he’s available, he’ll be ready to play,” Berry said. “It’s allowing our team to grow under another goaltender and giving him experience. It builds your team a little bit.”