Wheat Kings netminder Corbin Boes has struggled so far this season. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Only a handful of months ago, Corbin Boes was a goaltender on the rise in the Western Hockey League.
He was coming off a splendid stretch run in his second WHL season, finishing with the third-best save percentage (.916) of any goalie in the league and earning an invitation to Hockey Canada’s prestigious Program of Excellence camp.
Boes and Brandon’s veteran defence were to form the foundation for this year’s Wheat Kings, but the season has not unfolded as the 19-year-old Saskatonian had planned.
Going into Wednesday’s games, the Wheat Kings had given up more goals (122) than any team in the league and were second-last in shots against (35.93 per game). Boes’ 4.15 goals-against average was the worst of 30 qualifying goalies in the WHL, while his .881 save percentage was 29th.
Boes showed some signs of righting the ship on Sunday with one of his best games of the season, stopping 34 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The challenge now is to tack on more strong performances.
"I think my year’s been up and down, I guess you could say," Boes said. "I don’t think I’ve found the consistency I’ve been looking for. It just seems like I’d put one good game in and wouldn’t be able to string another three periods together. That’s what I’m looking to find right now is that consistency."
While Boes has struggled, 18-year-old backup Curtis Honey has taken on a more prominent role as the season has gone on. Honey has posted a 3.67 GAA and a .901 pct., and Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said rather than rely on a rotation, the team will choose starters based on how each goaltender is playing at the time.
"It’s a game-by-game decision who starts in net," he said. "And I think the good thing about it is they’re both friends, they both push each other as much as they can and they know the more they push each other as goaltenders, the better they’re going to be, and that’s what you want to see."
Lauded by the coaches for his work ethic and leadership, Boes is willing to shoulder his share of responsibility for the team’s 10-16-2-2 record going into tomorrow’s home game against the Spokane Chiefs (7:30 p.m., Westman Place). He’s also confident that if he keeps putting in the required work, he can turn his season around.
"I know I’ve had success in this league before and I know the things I need to do, like hard work and just come to the rink fully focused and ready to go," he said. "As the season’s gone along I’ve found myself at times just not fully focused or whatever, so that’s something I’m looking to change. I can’t change the past of what’s happened, so I’ve just got to look forward from here."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 6, 2012