Brandon Wheat Kings
Cranbrook, B.C. — The Brandon Wheat Kings kicked off a 4-game in five night Western Hockey League road trip Tuesday night with an exciting 1-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice.
In a night of firsts, newly acquired center Kevin Sundher scored his first goal as a Wheat King and 17-year old rookie netminder Curtis Honey, who was making only his third career WHL start, picked up his first WHL shutout in backstopping the Wheat Kings as they salvaged the back half of a home and home series with the defending champions.
Kootenay had scored a 7-3 victory over the Wheat Kings Saturday night at Westman Place.
Sundher, whose goal at the 16:28 mark of the opening period stood up as the game winner, was obtained from the Victoria Royals on the eve of the Western Hockey League Trade Deadline earlier this month in exchange for Jordin Fransoo, Dakota Conroy and a first round bantam draft choice.
“I thought Kevin was good at both ends of the ice tonight,” Wheat Kings’ assistant coach Darren Ritchie told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post game show. “He’s such a good skater, he can play a 200 foot game…when you have a guy like that that’s playing, it’s a real good thing for our team.”
As for Honey, he joined the Wheat Kings in December when veteran Corbin Boes broke his hand and even though Boes is on the verge of returning to the crease, it was the former Bonnyville Pontiac that got the starting assignment on Tuesday night and was excellent in posting his first ever WHL victory.
“He didn’t give any second chances…he really controlled his rebounds well,” said Ritchie.
Honey finished the night with 34 saves while Nathan Lieuwen made 27 saves for the Ice.
With the win, the Wheat Kings moved six points up on Red Deer in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. It also moves Brandon to within six of the seventh place Hitmen, who they will face Wednesday night in Calgary.
Following Wednesday’s game, the Wheat Kings will close out this week’s trip with games in Edmonton and Red Deer on Friday and Saturday nights.