TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Netminder Corbin Boes makes a glove-hand save during Brandon Wheat Kings practice Tuesday at Westman Place.
Corbin Boes has never gone into a Western Hockey League season without a battle to fight.
At this time two years ago, Boes was one of five goaltenders crowding the Brandon Wheat Kings crease before the club finally settled on him as part of a rookie tandem with Liam Liston.
Last year, he fought off both Liston and veteran Brandon Anderson for the starting job, eventually finishing the season with the WHL’s third-best save percentage, at .916, to go along with a 3.13 goals-against average in 41 games.
So it’s no surprise that even though he goes into Friday’s Brandon Sun home opener at Westman Place against the Regina Pats as the Wheat Kings’ unquestioned man between the pipes, the 19-year-old Saskatonian is still looking over his shoulder.
"I still have to be able to perform though to get those games," said Boes, who is joined on the roster by 18-year-old sophomore Curtis Honey, owner of just nine WHL appearances. "That’s why I still have to come to practice, work hard and still get better throughout the year if I wanna be able to play a lot of games this year."
The Wheat Kings will need Boes to play a lot of games — and play them well — this season. Capable of simply outscoring many of their opponents last season, the latest incarnation of the club is young and unproven up front, but deep and experienced on defence and in net.
Boes was invited to Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence camp this summer as well as the Winnipeg Jets’ development camp and the 6-foot-3, 216-pounder certainly looks capable of carrying the load for the Wheat Kings, although he said he doesn’t feel any additional pressure.
"I don’t think anything changes for me personally," he said. "I’m a goalie. It’s my job to keep the puck out of the net. At the end of the day that’s my main goal (and) that’s what I focus on."
Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said the club is relying on both goaltenders for steady play this season, but he added that for a veteran like Boes, what he does off the ice is equally important.
"He’s a guy that works hard," Gylywoychuk said. "He’s a guy that’s very routine (oriented). He’s a guy that knows what it takes to be prepared for each game, and I think that’s going to be important for him to do."
AROUND THE WHL: As of Tuesday afternoon, the Wheat Kings had sold 2,395 season tickets, with nearly 3,000 seats for Friday’s game spoken for … D Colton Jobke played one game for Regina in the pre-season, but Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that the 20-year-old won’t face Brandon this weekend after being instructed by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild to sit out for insurance reasons until he goes to camp with the AHL’s Houston Aeros. "I originally came back to Regina because being here would be a great experience for me to skate at a high competitive level," Jobke, who has been signed by the Wild, told the Leader-Post. "I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing (to sit out)." The Pats have four overagers — one over the limit — without Jobke. … The Vancouver Giants are trying to capitalize on the NHL lockout by offering reduced-price tickets in their upper bowl for the first three games of the season. "We want people to rediscover what the Giants are all about," team owner Ron Toigo told Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun, adding that the team has lost about 1,000 season-ticket holders since 2009-10 … John MacNeil of the Black Press writes that Red Deer LW Turner Elson has been told by the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who signed him last year, that he will stay with the Rebels this season instead of going to camp with their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 19, 2012