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Rochester Saints 16U “Family” Riding High to the Semifinals

By Kyle Huson, 04/02/22, 1:45PM MDT


Florian Wade, Owen King helped team defeat Culver, 2-1

Rochester, Mich. – Despite being from Rochester, N.Y., the Rochester Saints (BK Selects Academy) are feeling very comfortable in its Michigan namesake. Now 4-0, the Saints defeated Culver, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 16U National Championship.

Thanks in large part to a few key saves from goaltender Florian Wade, the Saints were able to hold on and keep their “family” moving forward in the tournament.

“It’s honestly the biggest family I’ve ever been a part of on the rink,” said Wade, who was bounced out of the tournament early last year playing for Shattuck-St. Mary’s. “We’re just one big family.”

It’s not just the 16U team that feels like a family. Wade and captain Owen King had a huge cheering section of the 18U team, which played later in the day at the same rink. Wade went right over to celebrate in front of the kids banging on the glass as soon as the buzzer sounded.

“It was just so fun to be out there and then to go celebrate with them, it really showed our family aspect. And we’re going to cheer them on as well.”

Rochester Saints captain Owen King

Wade and Paul Dalessio have split time evenly in the tournament and neither goalie has surrendered a loss. Wade said that the two push each other hard in practice and that translates to the game.

“We have small area games every day and we battle against each other. It’s just good to push each other every day.”

King said that it’s great playing in front of two goalies that the team can rely on.

“I’ve never had anything like it. They have saved games for us, and it motivates us to play hard in front of them. Overall, we just have so much confidence in them.”

King said this Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championship experience has been “unbelievable.” He perhaps came in with a chip on his shoulder, being the captain and trying to lead the team to Nationals, which came up short of the goal last year.

“The message to this team before the tournament was ‘We’re not done yet.’ That’s our motto, just keep pushing. We just want to keep going.

King and Wade said that throughout the year their goal has been to make it to Nationals. Their head coach had the team read two different books to learn from throughout the year. One of them was called The Energy Bus. The other was called The Hard Hat.

Both books have helped the team come together and battle through adversity.

“It just taught us about staying positive,” said Wade. “Through the ups and downs throughout the season, the message was about positivity. If we go down in a game, we can be a good teammate and pat the guy on the back. And it taught us to be a good teammate on and off the ice.”

Wade certainly had to stay positive after allowing a breakaway goal midway through the third period which cut the Saints lead in half. He shook it off and made three huge saves – one with the toe, one with the glove, and one with the blocker.

“I know it’s kind of cliché to say but honestly I just had to forget about that goal, almost like it didn’t happen. The guys were blocking in front of me,

Rochester Saints goaltender Florian Wade

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