Members of the St. Albert Sabres U15 AAA offered up a number of dazzling performances at this weekend’s John Reid Memorial Tournament — in the offensive zone, on the blue line, and most notably, in between the pipes.
While fast-skating forward Ty Meunier led the Sabres with seven points, and while D-man Brett Visser showed off his impressive two-way game adding four points to St. Albert’s effort, nobody on the roster got fans on their feet quite like goaltender Finn Werner.
Werner, the ‘08 St. Albert native, is currently playing in his second season for the Sabres, having finished last year with a sterling .941 save percentage and a 1.56 goals against average in 16 games played.
Over the past few days, he’s once again proved why he deserves the top job on the city’s most elite U15 team.
Werner’s play over the four-day tournament, which took place from Thursday to Sunday at Servus Credit Union Place, was nothing short of stunning. Facing some of the most promising offensive talents on the continent, Werner stood on his head time and time again to finish round-robin play with a 0.931 save percentage and 3.5 GAA in 120 minutes of icetime.
“I felt calm and confident in the crease with my teammates helping me out,” said Werner.
As a result of his exceptional performance, Werner was selected to the tournament’s first all star team and named the best goalie – recognition he insists would not have been possible without the entire Sabres group.
“I’m honoured to be chosen for those awards, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my coaches and teammates.”
And not only did Werner put up some exceptional numbers, he was also recognized for his dogged tenacity in protecting the Sabres’ crease.
“John Reid approached the game of hockey with a passion and defined success as simply hard work and perseverance. The John Reid Heart and Hustle Award is given to a St. Albert AAA Sabres player participating in the John Reid Memorial Tournament who most exemplifies these qualities,” tweeted out the event’s official account as they announced Werner as the recipient of this year’s award.
With the John Reid now in the rear view mirror, Werner’s attention is back on the Alberta Elite Hockey League, where the Sabres sit firmly in first place with a record of 23 wins and one loss.
To say that the young prospect has been dominant in that league is a major understatement. It may seem like a statistical error at first, but the reality is that Werner has not lost a single game in the AEHL in his two years as a starting goalie.
The group has secured a playoff spot only halfway through the season, and despite the looming WHL Draft — scheduled to take place the first week in May — repeating last year’s golden postseason performance remains Werner’s top priority.
“Right now my main focus is on continuing to better my game and to take home another provincial championship.”