Goalie stones Jets in first NHL game

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Adam Werner was the rawest of rookie goaltenders when he entered Tuesday’s NHL game at Bell MTS Place.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/11/2019 (1110 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Adam Werner was the rawest of rookie goaltenders when he entered Tuesday’s NHL game at Bell MTS Place.

The 22-year-old Swede, with a mere 13 AHL games on his resumé but not one second of NHL action, was thrust into a high-pressure situation when he had to sub for Colorado Avalanche starter Pavel Francouz 31 seconds into the Avs’ game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Werner seemed unfazed by his predicament, robbing Jets sniper Patrik Laine on a power-play blast in the first period and denying Jack Roslovic and Nikolaj Ehlers on prime scoring chances in the second.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade Colorado Avalanche goaltender Adam Werner makes one of his 40 saves on the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of the Avs 4-0 win on Tuesday.

In the third, Werner preserved a 3-0 cushion en route to a 4-0 victory with a sprawling stop on Roslovic’s wraparound attempt and then denying Laine’s big shot twice midway through the stanza.

“Of course there’s some nerves, but you just get in there in a short time and I guess I just tried to have fun and play my game,” Werner said.

When he was done, Werner shared a 40-save shutout with Francouz, who was not actually credited with a stop.

“He’s been up here working, excited to be here and he gets thrown into the game early and then to have the performance he had, like we weren’t great with the puck tonight,” Avs head coach Jared Bednar said. “We turned the puck over a lot. Our guys worked extremely hard to defend but then we just weren’t good with the puck. We handed the puck back to Winnipeg a lot and on turnovers you tend to see the best scoring chances against.”

Did Werner envision a shutout in his first game?

“I mean, honestly not,” Werner said. “You need to have a dream, and a big dream out there, and work for it and be prepared if something happened.”

Werner was a mystery man to the Jets.

“I don’t know much about it — he played great,” Winnipeg blue-liner Josh Morrissey said. “I thought we hit him a lot of times as well.”

Colorado, which started the game without their veteran No. 1 Philipp Grubauer due to a lower-body injury, were forced to summon former University of Manitoba Bisons goaltender Byron Spriggs from the pressbox when Francouz was helped off the ice, not to return.

Francouz, with only eight NHL appearances, was levelled by Jets centre Mark Scheifele, who had been fending off Avs defender Samuel Girard on a foray to the net before crashing into the 29-year-old Czech. Scheifele was assessed a minor penalty for goalie interference. Spriggs, a goaltending coach on the U of M men’s team, was the designated emergency goalie at the game.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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