BLOOMINGTON — Goalie Hayden Lavigne had to wait more than a month to make his Bloomington Thunder debut. So he knew he had to capitalize once he got his chance.
"It's never easy when you don't get to play. Everyone plays at this level because they want to be playing and not sitting on the bench or in the stands," Lavigne said. "I was just working hard in practice and I knew that I'd get my opportunity soon enough, and I wanted to make the most of it once I did."
Acquired in a Dec. 8 trade with Waterloo, Lavigne was elevated to the active roster last week after the Thunder traded David Jacobson to Chilliwack of the British Columbia league for future considerations.
Lavigne debuted by stopping 12 of 13 shots in relief of Logan Halladay in Friday's 4-0 loss to Sioux City. He made his first start since Thanksgiving day the following night and made 24 saves in a 7-3 victory over the Musketeers.
"I just tried to keep a really calm mind. I try not to worry about the score of the game or what was going on," Lavigne said. "I kept telling myself a few little things about my positioning and things like that to try and keep me focused in the game. Play it minute by minute and not worry about the end result."
Thunder coach Dennis Williams was impressed with the way Lavigne recovered after the first shot he faced in Saturday's game deflected in off the stick of defenseman Butrus Ghafari.
"I was thinking 'poor guy.' Then he really settled in, controlled his rebounds well and was smothering a lot of pucks," said Williams, whose team hosts Tri-City in a 7 p.m. faceoff Saturday and a 3 p.m. game Sunday. "I definitely hope it's a boost of confidence for him."
Bloomington (12-14-5) is Lavigne's third USHL club over the past two seasons. He posted a 3.83 goals-against average with a 7-13-1 record in 27 games with Tri-City last season. He got off to a 5-2-2 start with the Black Hawks this year, but lost five straight decisions before the trade.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Lavigne is committed to the University of Michigan for the fall semester, giving the Thunder a pair of Big Ten recruits in net with Logan Halladay headed to Minnesota.
"There's a reason why he's going there; he can face some adversity — just like Logan has — and continue to build and play confident," said Williams. "It (sitting out for five weeks) hasn't been easy for him. Any player could've easily come in and said 'if you're not going to play me just trade me.'
"But Hayden just kept going, kept quiet and kept working. He knew his time would come and when it came he was ready to go."
Tri-City (16-10-5) boasts a 20-goal scorer in North Dakota recruit Chris Wilkie. After the set with the Storm, Bloomington travels to Muskegon (19-10-3) for an 11:15 a.m. (CST) contest amid a stretch of six games in nine days.
"That's a lot of hockey for our guys. We had a pretty tough week of practice on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week just to get our legs and bodies into it," said Williams. "Now it's going to be a lot of execution and a lot of video, getting guys healthy and keeping them fresh."
Pedrie honored: Assistant captain Vince Pedrie, who shares the Thunder scoring lead with Shane Bednard, has been named the USHL's defenseman of the week for the third time. He had a goal and a plus-6 rating in the win over Sioux City and now has nine goals, 11 assists and a plus-3 mark.