When the Brandon Wheat Kings hop on the bus for their two-game road trip this weekend, it looks like they’ll need to save a seat for Corbin Boes.
The veteran goaltender is getting close to returning to the lineup, taking part in his first full practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Jan. 25.
"This was my first full practice so it felt pretty good," said Boes, whose team visits the Saskatoon Blades on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos on Sunday (6:35 both nights, CKLQ). "I’ve been doing a lot of rehab over the last few weeks and just patiently trying to get back out on the ice and finally the trainer (Grant Ammann) let me out there today."
Boes said he didn’t want to rush his return and risk turning an injury that needed only time to heal into one that would require surgery. Similarly, there’s no guarantee he’ll be thrown right back into game action either as the club evaluates what will be the best for his recovery and for the team.
"You’ve just got to take your reps out there and just find your way back into the speed of this league and just (focus on) taking shots and working hard to get your feet back into it, stuff like that," he said.
However long it takes, Boes hopes that he can return with the same form he was showing at the time of the injury. Despite being hurt in a third-period collision, Boes finished his last game and made 43 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over the Red Deer Rebels, posting a 2.26 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in his last three appearances.
"I’d like to pick up where I left off before the injury," he said. "Saying that, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not just going to happen. I’ve got to work at it and when I get a chance to play, I’ve got to give the guys a chance to win and see what happens."
During his absence, Curtis Honey has carried the bulk of the load, starting 10 of the 12 games, with prospect Jordan Papirny filling in the gaps. Honey has a 4.25 goals-against average and a save percentage of .894 in that span and Boes believes having both of them healthy and playing well can’t do anything but help the team down the stretch.
"I think when both goalies are playing well then the team has confidence going into the game and they just have that sense of security that if there’s a mistake, me and Curtis can bail them out possibly," Boes said. "So I think it’s huge to have a good tandem of goaltending."
ONE-TIMERS: Brandon enters the road trip with a 21-35-3-23 record … With Kord Pankewicz having missed Monday’s game due to a lower-body injury and fellow defencemen Ryan Pulock and Colton Waltz both sitting out Wednesday’s practice after being hit by shots, the Wheat Kings’ blue-liners wore extra protective shields on their skates yesterday.