PHOTO BY CANESCAST
Former Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Corbin Boes was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes during this year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft.
The shiny new pads Corbin Boes got after he joined the Lethbridge Hurricanes are quickly being blackened by puck marks.
The 20-year-old goaltender was traded by Brandon to Lethbridge during May’s Western Hockey League bantam draft, part of the price the Wheat Kings paid to move up in the first round to draft defenceman Kale Clague with the sixth overall pick. Since arriving in Alberta’s Windy City, things have been anything but a breeze for Boes as he’s been the WHL’s busiest puckstopper, facing a league-high 513 shots going into Friday’s slate of games.
As one might expect from a team that is averaging 41.75 shots against per game — nearly four more than any other team — the Hurricanes are struggling under new head coach Drake Berehowsky, sitting last overall with a 2-7-1-2 record.
Boes said he’s seen signs, however, that the Hurricanes are starting to get their game in order.
"I think coming in as the newer guy on the team and new coaches and all that, I think there was a bit of a learning curve for everyone," said Boes, whose team hosts the Tri-City Americans tonight before facing the Wheat Kings on Sunday (2:30 p.m., CKLQ) in the final game of Brandon’s West Coast road trip. "I think right now we’re starting to head down the right path. Games are getting a lot closer and we’ve gone to extra time the last two games in a row and we lost by one to (defending champion) Portland, so I think we’re getting close to turning the corner here and hopefully some wins can start piling up for us."
Boes entered the weekend with the worst goals-against average among WHL qualifiers at 4.14, but his save percentage of .904 is a solid number, particularly considering how many shots he’s faced. By comparison, Brandon goalie Curtis Honey has played the exact same number of minutes (710) as Boes, but the 424 shots faced by Honey are 89 fewer than his Lethbridge counterpart.
Still, the Hurricanes have made Boes their workhorse in his final season of junior hockey, and he’s not about to let himself off the hook.
"As a goalie, you want to play no matter what and I’ve been fortunate to be in the net a lot since I started playing this season," said Boes, who missed the opening weekend of the season while recovering from off-season hand surgery but has played in 13 of the Hurricanes’ games since then. "As for my role, right now it’s just do my best to keep the team in games and just give them a chance to win every night."
"Right now the games are getting closer. I’ve got to find myself, personally, just a way to bear down and make that one extra save or two, whatever it takes to give the team a win."
Boes would love to have one of those wins come on Sunday against his former team, but he admits that as time has passed, he’s stopped thinking as much about the Wheat Kings as he did during the off-season.
"It’s been a long time since I was traded and I had a lot of good times in Brandon, but I guess as of right now it’s part of my past," he said. "I’ve moved on, and I’m just trying to make the best of my opportunity here in Lethbridge."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 2, 2013