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WHL twins Connor Honey, Curtis Honey hopeful they’ll go head-to-head next week

Connor Honey is tied for first in points on his team (Kyle Scholzen, Seattle Thunderbirds)Curtis Honey and Connor Honey live up to the popular belief twins can read each other's thoughts.

It is rare enough for the Brandon Wheat Kings get a visit from the Seattle Thunderbirds, since each team only makes the long trek to the other's rink every second season. Their game on Tuesday could be a double feature — Brandon's Curtis Honey trying to stop his sibling, who's tied for the Thunderbirds' team lead in points.

So, Connor Honey, if you get a break against your brother, what's your likely go-to move?

"I'd probably go to the backhand," the 18-year-old right wing says from Swift Current, where the T-Birds play the Broncos on Friday. "I would probably go backhand because he had a shootout the other day [Oct. 27] against Prince George and they went there a couple times. That's also my move in the shootout. It worked for me against Kamloops a couple weeks ago.

"But it's been so long," he adds.  "I'd have to be there to see what happens."

What does Curtis Honey — the older of the two by 20 minutes — think his brother would try?

"He'd do one of two things, quick shot five-hole or else go backhand roof. Of course, it's not going to go in, but that's what he'll attempt."

The Honeys were linemates during their minor hockey days in Edmonton before Curtis switched to goal. This is a treat since they play half a continent apart.

"We were always in the same class at school, always on the same hockey team," Curtis Honey says.  "Never played against him in my life. It should be a lot of fun."

Fraternal reunion

It's up to Wheat Kings coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk whether to play his younger goalie in a non-conference matchup, which is often an occasion to start the No. 2 netminder. Veteran goalie Corbin Boes has had the lion's share of the playing time in Brandon, but Honey has posted a respectable 3.61 average and .908 save percentage in six games. At minimum, it will be a family reunion, since the Honeys expect to have 20 family members in attendance, including their parents Anita and Gordon.

"We've been talking about it all summer," says Connor Honey, who notes his parents' wardrobe includes both Thunderbirds and Wheat Kings apparel. "I think there's a lot more pressure on him. If I don't score, it's not a big deal, but he's going to hear about it if I bury on him.

"It's going to be nice to see him, period. It's tough to move away from him when you've been playing together, pushing each other to get to the next level every year. Now you don't get to watch him every day. I still try to catch Curtis' games online, we still talk but not as much as we would otherwise."

Twins in junior hockey can come as a package deal. Two of the past three MasterCard Memorial Cup tournaments have included twin linemates — the London Knights' Matt and Ryan Rupert last season and the Moncton Wildcats' Alex and Allain Saulnier in 2010.

Long routes to the Dub

Curtis Honey played forward until peewee (Tim Smith, Brandon Sun, courtesy Brandon Wheat Kings)The Honeys' hockey path started to fork in peewee when Curtis Honey converted to goalie.

"I got a set of goal stuff for Christmas when I was really young I put the pads on out on the backyard rink every single year. I just begged my dad to be a goalie every single year but he didn't want to be running to two different rinks. Finally he said, 'if you make your brother's team as a goalie, then you can be goalie.'

"Fortunately, they gave me a spot as a forward but also let me try out as a goalie."

Connor Honey, who had designs on the NCAA, started last season with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers before moving to the Thunderbirds last December. The power forward had 10 goals and 21 points in 46 games.

The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder has broken out this fall with six goals and 11 points in 14 games. The Thunderbirds look like a threat to make their first playoff appearance since 2009.

"Our team's buying in together. We're missing [Dallas Stars selection Branden] Troock [due to injury], but I think it's going to be a really successful year."

Curtis Honey, an undersized goalie at 5-foot-11, was called up by the Wheat Kings late last season. He had one of his most promising performances last Saturday when he stopped 46-of-48 shots in a shootout loss at Prince George, helping Brandon cadge a precious point at the end of a wearying western road swing.

"I'm having a lot of fun, that experience from last year has helped a lot," he says. The situation is a lot better for me. I feel like I'm getting stronger each game.

Connor claims that even though he's the one who's supposed to score, his touch around the net is no match for Curtis' — "He has better hands than me, for sure." Curtis Honey will take the compliment, even though he's not so sure about the veracity.

"Connor's still got better hands than me, but I like to do the odd dangle on the outdoor rink."

Trivia nuts probably recall that the first NHL meeting between Hall of Famers Phil and Tony Esposito (one year apart in age) ended in a tie. Ol' Garbage Goal scored both Boston Bruins goals that night against the Montreal Canadiens.

There will have to be a winner on Tuesday, so the obvious who-needs-fiction finish would be a shootout. It's just one more if to contemplate before the Honeys' parents and relatives arrange their allegiances.

"My mum wishes she had a half-and-half jersey because she doesn't know who to cheer for," Connor Honey says.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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