Warm twins heating up in WHL 

Goalie Beck blocking pucks for Tri-City; d-man Will steady in Edmonton

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ANDY DEVLIN/EDMONTON OIL KINGS - ROYAL RUMBle Defenceman Will Warm of the Edmonton Oil Kings (No. 4) defends the net during a recent game against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
  • Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings
  • ROYAL RUMBle Defenceman Will Warm of the Edmonton Oil Kings (No. 4) defends the net during a recent game against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Warm brothers sounds like it could be the name of a soothing, soulful R&B group, but in fact, it's twins intent on cooling off high-flying Western Hockey League attacks.

In the first year that goalie Beck Warm and defenceman Will Warm have not played together, the 17-year-olds are proving that they can do just fine on their own. The pair lived in Whistler before moving to the city to pursue the sport more seriously at age 14.

Goalie Beck has been part of successful platoon in net for the Tri-City Americans of Kennewick, Wash. while Will has settled onto a young blue line for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Beck has played in eight games for the Americans, posting a 3-3-0 record while notching team-leading marks in terms of goals against average (3.32) and save percentage (.901) in helping Tri-City sit second in the U.S. Division with a 12-6-1 mark.

"(The biggest adjustment has been) just how big guys are. When there's traffic in front of the net, it's tough to see around guys," he said. "It's just really about battling and just moving through it. I'm not the biggest guy in the world so I can't see over top of people. I just have to battle and look for the puck."

Beck said he wasn't quite expecting the workload he's received so far, and even after the Americans traded for veteran Rylan Parenteau from Prince Albert, the 5-11 Beck still played regularly and has put up better numbers than the 20-year-old.

"It's been a really nice surprise, actually. We've made a couple trades recently but I think my minutes will still be up," he said. "I'm a pretty patient goalie. I use my size well and I'm also pretty athletic when I need to be."

However, the Americans' goalie carousel got a little more complicated last weekend with the return of veteran Evan Sarthou. Beck dressed as the backup for wins against Portland last Friday and Sunday, but did not see action, while he watched Saturday's victory over Spokane from the stands.

Beck's highlight of the season so far came a couple weeks ago when the Americans were in Vancouver to take on the Giants. He made 36 saves to backstop Tri-City to a 5-4 win.

"It's closest to my hometown so I had some family and friends there," he said. "That was a pretty cool moment."

Will, meanwhile, has helped put the Oil Kings in contention for an Eastern Conference wild-card spot with a 6-9-2 record.

After spending last season with the Vancouver NW Giants of the B.C. Major Midget League, battling against players his own age, Will is now regularly deployed against opponents who are 20 or 21 years old.

"Everyone is bigger. Everyone is stronger and everyone just thinks the game that much better," he said. "It was pretty hard to adjust at the start but I'm just getting even better each game and that's the most important part."

Warm is currently playing with Russian defenceman Anatolii Elizarov, who was injured to start the season. The duo has meshed quickly, though, as their styles complement one another.

"He's a little bit more stay-at-home and I'm trying to develop my offensive game so I think we work well together," he said.

Will has a goal and four assists to this point in the season, including scoring to knot the game against the Prince Albert Raiders in a 3-1 victory on Oct. 21. He completed the task in front of 6,800 fans at Edmonton's brand-new Rogers Place.

"I had some room to skate so I got my feet moving and got up ice. I had quite a bit of time. No one came at me, so I just drove to the net, got a shot off, far side, top shelf and somehow it went in," he said.

Both said it has been a little strange not to line up alongside one another this season, though they talk every night. However, they'll be reunited next week when the Oil Kings visit Kennewick's Toyota Center for a Nov. 19 battle.

"I'm pretty excited for that. It's a day I marked off on the calendar from the start of the year. I've been looking forward to it for awhile...," Will said.

Beck hopes to play pro, be it in the NHL or overseas in Europe. Both will be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft this June. Though neither brother was mentioned in pre-season scouting material, they're hoping what they've accomplished as rookies will catch the eye of scouts before the selections in Chicago.

"It's always in the back of your mind, but you just try your best and keep playing your game," Beck said.

"It's something that's pretty crazy to think about. I try not to think about it too much. I just want to play my game night in and night out, keep on getting better and better and hopefully good things will happen," Will added.

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