The Brandon Wheat Kings are about to find out what Curtis Honey can do as a No.1 goaltender.
The second-year Western Hockey Leaguer has been thrust into that role with the news that Corbin Boes is out for what the team is terming "a few weeks" with a knee injury. The 19-year-old veteran was hurt in a collision with Rebels forward Brooks Maxwell in the third period of the Wheat Kings’ 2-1 overtime victory on Friday in Red Deer, Alta.
The blow comes at a time when the Wheat Kings have been getting their best goaltending of the season. Both goalies were involved in a 10-2 loss to the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 2, but in the 11 games since then Boes (.922) and Honey (.912) have combined for an impressive .918 save percentage.
"Curtis is going to be our goalie for now until Corbin gets back," said Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, whose club hosts the Saskatoon Blades tonight
(7 o’clock, Westman Place). "Curtis has shown he’s a starting goalie, a regular goalie in the Western Hockey League. … We’ve got the confidence in him, 100 per cent."
Honey has all of 30 WHL games under his belt. He played nine games after joining Brandon for the second half of the 2011-12 campaign and so far this season he has a 7-9-1-1 record with a 3.62 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.
Since the beginning of January, the pair have basically split the time in net and Honey said he’s looking forward to showing what he can do with a heavy workload.
"It sounds like Corbin’s going to be out for a little bit here, so it’s going to be a bit of a long haul," said the 18-year-old Edmontonian, who faced an eye-popping 100 shots in the two games after Boes’ injury, stopping 90 of them. "I’m going to be playing more games than I’m used to. (It’s important to) just try to make sure that I take care of my body and stuff like that. I think playing consecutive games, one after the other, it’s a lot easier to get into a bit of a rhythm. That’s what I’m hoping for."
Top goaltending prospect Jordan Papirny joined the Wheat Kings as the backup for the final two games of their weekend road trip after Boes’ injury and he’s accompanied the team to Brandon for at least this week.
Gylywoychuk said there’s no plan right now for when or if Papirny might see action. A 2011 first-round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, Papirny said he’d like to get into a game, but for now he’s content to watch, learn and play whatever role is asked of him.
"I’m really looking forward to the rest of this whole week here and however long after I stay," said Papirny, who has a 2.53 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage for the Edmonton-based South Side Athletic Club in the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League.
"Any time you can come up like this, it’s awesome. You learn a lot from it."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon D Tyler Yaworski missed Tuesday’s practice on what Gylywoychuk called a ‘maintenance day’, while RW/LW Richard Nejezchleb skated after practice although he is not believed to be close to returning from his cut hand. The Wheat Kings are also without C Tyrel Seaman, who is out indefinitely with a concussion.