Peterson embracing opportunity as key contributor for Tommies

John Peterson has tallied three goals and four assists for St. Thomas. (University of St. Thomas Photo Services)

John Peterson started playing hockey at a young age. He had a couple of cousins that played the game and ihis friends got involved in the sport as well.

“I gave it a try and liked it from the start,” Peterson said.

It’s worked out well for Peterson, who is now a senior forward at St. Thomas and one of the team’s key contributors.

Through eight games he has three goals and four assists. It’s worth noting he’s nearly matched his goal total (4) from each of the last two seasons.

“It’s something I struggled with a little in the past,” Peterson said. “I’m shooting the puck more and that has led to more goals, as simple as that sounds.”

Hard work has also paid off.

“I’m working hard every day in practice and I’ve been working to get better every day, and that has translated to success in games,” Peterson said.

He’s continued to find teammates for shots as well as he continues to build on that effort from last season when he dished out 16 assists.

“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Peterson said. “Fortunately I play with good linemates that can put the puck in the net. I have that pass-first attitude and that has translated to higher assist totals.”

Peterson said one of the things he focused on the most in the offseason is conditioning and he believes that has paid off nicely.

“That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past. I really took to heart getting better at it this year,” Peterson said.

The Tommies are 5-2-1 through eight games and own a 3-1 record in the MIAC. The team has scored 34 goals while allowing 22. Ten players have scored at least two goals.

“If we do what we need to do, we have the talent to have a great year. We’re hopeful the talent will pay off in the end,” Peterson said.

Peterson has progressed each year. After playing in just five games as a freshman, he played 25 games as a sophomore and in 24 games as a junior. He’s played in seven of the eight games for the Tommies this year.

Peterson is a Minnesota native and played junior hockey for the Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL before making the jump to college hockey. It turned out to be a valuable experience.

“I was able to mature on and off the ice,” Peterson said. “Coming into college a little bit older helped me a lot. It’s helped me stay more focused and help me balance hockey and school better. That was the biggest thing for me.”

Peterson loves having the chance to compete in the MIAC where every game matters in league that is balanced from top to bottom.

“You have to value every game and treat every game the same. It doesn’t matter who you play. You have to stay focused,” Peterson said.

Being a senior, that focus is raised to another level. He wants to make the most of every opportunity he has in his remaining time with the Tommies.

“It’s my turn to be a senior now. It’s my last go-round. I want to try to make this one as good as possible. We want to go as far as we can as a team.”

Around the West Region

Jackson Bond of Hamline leads the MIAC in points (13). He is tied for the league-lead in goals, scoring five. Bond is also the MIAC leader in assists, tallying eight. St. Thomas has the top offense in the MIAC with 30 goals and 46 assists.

UW-Stevens Point has the most goals in the WIAC with 37. Wisconsin-Superior has allowed the fewest goals in the conference, giving up just nine. Zach Dyment of UW-Eau Claire is the top goalie in the conference, fashioning a 1.35 GAA. He has seven wins and has made 186 saves.

Lake Forest’s Aaron O’Neill and Concordia-Wisconsin’s Braydon Barker are tied for the league-lead in scoring with 14 points apiece. Barker leads the NCHA in assists (11). Adrian leads the conference with 40 goals. Aurora is second in goals with 39. 

In the Poll: Wisconsin-Eau Claire is the No. 1 team in the nation and the only team in the west region ranked in the top five. Adrian checks in at sixth in the poll and Augsburg is eighth.Reigning national champion Wisconsin-Stevens Point is 13th.