It’s not often a hockey team’s goalie is their best player in a five-goal defeat, but that was the case on Sunday.
Brandon Wheat Kings netminder Curtis Honey — filling in for Corbin Boes, who suffered a lower-body injury on Friday — faced 48 shots as the Wheaties (18-29-2-2) wrapped up their three-game-in-three-day road trip with a 5-0 loss host Calgary Hitmen (32-13-1-3). However, it could have been worse without his 43-save effort.
"Curtis Honey was our best player again tonight," said Brandon head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, whose team sits in the Eastern Conference basement. "He made it at least respectable for us and we should be thankful that he was in net tonight."
Brandon got off to a slow start in Calgary but weathered being outshot 19-3 in the opening frame and kept the game scoreless.
Calgary finally got on the board in the second period when Chase Lang was sprung on a short-handed breakaway. He deked Honey and gave Calgary a 1-0 lead.
Jake Virtanen benefitted from Brandon’s inability to clear its defensive zone later in the second by wristing a shot over Honey’s right shoulder to make it 2-0.
Zane Jones added a power-play marker in the third period, and Brady Brassart and Brooks Macek also found the back of the net.
Brandon managed 16 shots on goal, 11 of which came in the third period.
Despite playing their third game in Alberta in three days, Gylywoychuk refused to use tired legs as a reason for his team’s inability to generate scoring opportunities and its poor defensive play.
"I think it was just we weren’t ready to play the way we had to on the road," he said.
"Coming into this building, we had to play error-free (at the) start of the period, we had to play good defensively and we had too many mistakes and too many breakdowns."
Things weren’t any better on Saturday as the Edmonton Oil Kings fired 52 shots at Honey in a 5-2 victory over the visiting Wheat Kings.
Curtis Lazar had two goals for the conference-leading Oil Kings (35-11-2-3), while Dylan Wruck had a goal and two assists. Henrik Samuelsson picked up three assists.
Michael St. Croix and Stephane Legault gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead before Wheat Kings rookie Jayce Hawryluk scored a goal then assisted on Eric Roy’s marker that tied the game.
But Edmonton responded to that by scoring three times in a span of 6:05 in the second half of the second period.
NOTES: With Boes out, G Jordan Papirny was called up from midget on Saturday to back up Honey … The Wheat Kings also scratched LW/RW Richard Nejezchleb (hand, four weeks), C Tyrel Seaman (concussion, indefinite) and D Kord Pankewicz for both games … Calgary LW Calder Brooks made his season debut after recovering from shoulder surgery in September.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from Rob Henderson