By GORDON ANDERSON
The 20-year old forward from Montmagny, Que., netted five goals and 12 assists in 10 games as the Storm went 4-6 in November. He scored at least one point in nine of those 10 games.
The Storm picked up the 5-foot-9 forward from the Princeville Titans of the Quebec Junior Hockey League on Sept. 2 for future considerations.
Bernier also spent some of last year with the Shawinigan Cataracts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he tallied 16 goals and 16 assists in 61 games.
“(Bernier is) special,” Storm head coach Matt Keillor said. “When he first stepped on the ice we knew he was going to be good but we didn’t think he’d be (this) good.”
Traditionally, the QJHL is a more wide open, offensive game, with less physical play.
As an example, the leading scorer in the QJHL has 83 points in 31 games. Bernier leads the AJHL in scoring with 51 points but in the QJHL he would be tied for 14th.
“It’s a different game and it takes a while to adjust to the physicality (in this league),” Keillor said. “Some guys have trouble adjusting to the type of game it is here.
“Bernier is feisty, he’s your prototypical (forward). He’s always on the puck and he’s creating.”
The winger is just the kind of guy you need on the ice who’s not afraid to be the guy everyone is looking when a game needs salvaged or won.
“He scores big goals in big moments,” Keillor said. “ He scores in overtime, on the powerplay and it makes us dangerous in those aspects. We feel, when we get to overtime, we feel we have a chance.”
“Best of all, he’s not a perimeter player. He goes to the areas some players have no stomach for. Metrics will show you the large majority of the goals scored in any hockey game are from the hash marks in.
“In this league you won’t score a lot of goals from the outside,” Keillor said. “He’s a two-way kind of guy. He can do it all. We’re lucky to have (him).”
With this award, perhaps, the Storm will gain or get some traction around the CJHL. Though the team isn’t in the Top 20 in the recent national polls the coach hopes more of that individual success happens in 2018. After all, it can only mean good things for the team.
“As an organization, it’s a huge honour for someone from our team (to win the award),” Keillor said. “We’re glad people are watching us and we want to continue that in the new year.”
The Storm are off until after Christmas returning with home games Dec. 29-30 against the Spruce Grove Saints.