Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
The trio of North Dakota goaltenders has forged a deep bond with one another.
One mainstay rings true throughout the history of North Dakota hockey and that is the goaltender position. From Ed Belfour to Zane McIntyre to Aaron Dell to Cam Johnson, the pipes have been well protected for UND. As 2018-19 progresses, the current goaltender position will be ironed out. However, regardless of who earns the net on a nightly basis, each of UND’s three goaltenders has become close with one another. They teach and learn from each other, making for a greater finished product on the ice.
Sophomore Peter Thome, senior Ryan Anderson and freshman Adam Scheel are all competitors. Each one of them wants to be on the ice and in the net. Because of this, practices become very fun on a daily basis. “It creates a fun environment in practice for sure. Every day is a competition, but at the end of the day, we’re all goalies and we are the only ones that know what it’s like to go through a season,” said Thome. “We’re the only ones that understand what the goalie goes through. It’s definitely competitive, but it’s definitely a really fun and supportive atmosphere.”
Anderson, who walked on with the program in 2015, sees hard work as the commonality between the three. “All three of us are good goaltenders,” he said. “We come in every day and work our asses off and obviously we have goalie practice, just the three of us and that creates fun competition for us. I think that just pushes all of us to get better.”
Scheel, a true freshman from Lakewood, Ohio, agrees with the sentiments of the other two goaltenders. “All three of us are competitors, but we like to compete and have fun,” he said. “We are also a pretty close group too and that makes it all the better.”
What is advantageous for the grouping is the things they can learn from one another. Anderson may have seen something the other two did not and vice versa. It helps that all have tremendous experience in the net, whether that be for UND or in their junior careers. Thome, a draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016, spoke to the benefits of learning from Anderson and Scheel.
“It’s huge. Everyone has their own individual strengths and weaknesses and area we need to improve,” he said. “You can definitely take pieces from each other’s game and apply them to your own. We try and get better doing that.” For Anderson, it’s getting to watch the other guys in practice that proves beneficial for him. “We watch each other in practice all the time,” he said. “When we’re not in the net, we’re watching the other guy, getting things from them. We all do things a little differently and sometimes it’s all three of us versus the rest of the team and we get ganged up on, but we stay tight. It’s a lot of fun.”
For Scheel, the newcomer of the three, he knows he can only learn from Thome and Anderson and sees it as a key to improvement as his UND career continues. “Especially being new this year, these guys have been around the block, I think I can learn a lot from both of them,” Scheel said. “Try and see how they deal with stuff and go from there.”
Leadership has been a constant quality needed for strong goaltenders. For all three, they seem to sway towards a certain leadership style. They all feel there is a quiet quality to most goaltenders. “All three of us are pretty quiet overall. We’re just silent leadership and confidence coming into the rink on game day,” said Anderson. “We want the other guys to feed off of us, being the cool, calm and collected ones back there. Hopefully, they do the same.”
“Definitely on game days I know if I am playing, I don’t really say much,” said Thome. “I’m more of a quiet leader, but sometimes I don’t shut up in practice, but come game time, I’m quieter and just trying to exude a confidence that hopefully, the boys can feed off.”
Scheel sums goaltender leadership in a relatively simple fashion. “At our position, I don’t think much needs to be said. We try to build confidence for the team and we have everyone’s backs,” he said.
All three goaltenders saw action in the team’s exhibition against Manitoba. Thome started the game and made only three saves. Scheel only needed to make one save before Anderson entered the game. While Anderson surrendered two goals, which pushed the game into overtime, many of the defensemen will admit to not giving Anderson enough help late in the game. Ultimately, the Fighting Hawks won that contest in overtime 3-2, Anderson had two saves. Manitoba only managed to get nine shots on goal throughout the course of the game.
Thom and Scheel split games in the opening weekend. Scheel started the home opener while Thome started the season opener. The duo made a combined 31 saves and surrendered three goals to the Beavers. Thome started the first game against Minnesota State Mankato the following weekend. After surrounding four goals, Scheel played the remainder of the series. The freshman made 28 saves over the course of the weekend against the Mavericks.
Scheel played in the Hall of Fame Game this past weekend against Minnesota. He stopped 20 shots and the Fighting Hawks won 3-1 over the Gophers in Las Vegas.
Regardless of who is in net, the North Dakota goaltenders are no slouches. They take each opportunity as a moment of learning and a chance to prove their worth to the team. In turn, they look to become another name on a heralded list of North Dakota hockey goaltenders.
#1 Peter Thome
- 2015: Graduated from Lake Park High School
- 2015-16: Played for NAHL’s Aberdeen Red Wings. Had a .929 save percentage
- 2016: A sixth-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets
- 2016-17: Played for three USHL teams (Waterloo Blackhawks, Chicago Steel and Omaha Lancers). Finished with a combined .891 save percentage.
- 2017-18: Freshman season at UND. Started 11 games and appeared in 12 and was named NCHC Goaltender of the Week twice.
#35 Ryan Anderson
- 2014: Graduated from Roseau High School in Roseau, Minnesota.
- 2014-15: Played for the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness. Had a 2.38 goals against average and a .890 save percentage.
- 2015-16: Walked on at UND and made the team his freshman season. Received UND’s Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship, given annually to the “freshman who demonstrates initiative, character and a sense of responsibility”. Member of NCAA Championship team.
- 2016-17: Earned second straight NCHC Academic All-Conference Team Selection.
- 2017-18: Earned his third straight selection to the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team and was also named an NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete.
#31 Adam Scheel
- 2017: Graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- 2017-18: Played for the BCHL’s Pentitcon Vees. Won a league-leading 29 games and had a 2.08 goals against average.