THE BEDARD REPORT: So . . . what do you think? Is F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats one of those athletes who rises to the occasion, or what? . . . On Friday night, in a game being televised by TSN and with the highly touted F Zach Benson on the other side, Bedard scored four times and added an assist as the host Pats overcame a 3-0 deficit and posted a 5-3 victory. . . . Bedard has seven hat tricks this season — five three-goal outings and two four-goal games. . . . It was his second four-goal game this season and the third of his career. Last season, he had one three-goal game and one four-goal outing. . . . Bedard’s nine career hat tricks breaks the Pats’ record that he shared with F Jordan Eberle, who played four seasons. . . . Bedard now has 16 multi-goal games this season. . . . In his past eight games, he has 13 goals and 15 assists. . . . In 18 games since returning to the Pats from the World Junior Championship, where he led Canada to gold, Bedard has put up 31 goals and 24 assists. . . . In 123 career regular-season games, he now has 121 goals and 126 assists. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (58) and points (119). And allow me to remind you once again that he won’t turn 18 until July 17. . . . Benson had two assists last night, giving him 61 this season. He is tied with Bedard and Ice D Ben Zloty for the league lead. . . . Next up for Bedard and the Pats? The Red Deer Rebels will be in Regina today with the Saskatoon Blades to visit on Sunday. . . .
And there’s more. . . . Chalk up at least two more sellouts to the Travellin’ Bedards. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes have said that their March 10 game against the Pats is sold out. . . . The Pats will go on to Medicine Hat the following night and the Tigers said Thursday that “a limited number of overflow tickets . . . are available now.” Overflow tickets? According to the tickets, overflow tickets “provide access into the venue but have no assigned seat or location.”
According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Saskatoon Blades’ average announced attendance last season was 3,390. This season, through 28 home games, that average was at 3,876. . . . That number is going to go up simply because F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats have two games left to play in Saskatoon. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix talked with Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, about how things have gone this season. . . . That story is right here.
The U of Calgary Dinos scored a 3-2 OT victory over the Alberta Golden Bears in Game 1 of Canada West’s best-of-three men’s hockey championship on Friday. . . . F Josh Maser, who played four seasons (2016-20) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, scored the winner at 5:41 of OT. . . . They are scheduled to play the second game tonight in Calgary. . . .
F Jaxsen Wiebe of the Prince George Cougars has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Wiebe was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for an NHL salary of US$775,000, with $80,000 in the minors. There also are signing bonuses of $80,000, $77,500 and $75,000. . . . Wiebe, 20, is from Moose Jaw. The Cougars acquired him from the Edmonton Oil Kings early in this season. He has 28 points, 11 of them goals, in 29 games with the Cougars. In six games with Edmonton, which he helped to a WHL title last season, he had three goals and an assist in six games. . . . In 159 career games — he also played 73 games with the Red Deer Rebels — he has 88 points, including 33 goals. The Rebels selected him in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. . . .
D Christoffer Sedoff of the Red Deer Rebels has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Sedoff, a 21-year-old from Helsinki, Finland, was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for a salary of US$870,000 in the NHL and $82,500 in the minors, with three $95,000 signing bonuses. . . . He is in his third season with the Rebels. This season, he has four goals and 42 assists in 54 games. Last season, he put up seven goals and 54 assists in 65 games. . . .
Brennan McConaghy has joined the Regina Pats as their interim athletic therapist. McConaghy, 29, has worked with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . He takes over from Greg Mayer, who had been with the Pats for 19 years before joining the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders as their lead athletic therapist last week.
If the WHL playoffs started today:
Winnipeg (1) vs. Swift Current (8)
Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)
Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)
Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)
Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Portland (3) vs. Tri-City (6)
Prince George (4) vs. Everett (5)
FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
The Red Deer Rebels broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals, the first two via the PP, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Ben King (16) scored both PP goals, at 6:43 and 8:26. . . . D Mats Lindgren helped out with a goal (10) and four assists for Red Deer. His first career five-point game has him at 27 points in 55 games. Lindgren, who came over from Kamloops prior to the season, had had six three-point games, but had never reached four. . . . F Nate Danielson scored his 30th goal of the season for Brandon. . . . D Christian Sedoff, who signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, was back in Red Deer’s lineup after serving a four-game suspension. . . . Red Deer (39-17-4) had lost its previous two games. The Rebels are headed to a Central Division title. . . . Brandon (23-27-8) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, three points from a playoff spot. . . .
In Everett, the Silvertips scored six times in the second period en route to a 10-3 victory over the Potland Winterhawks. . . . F Gabe Klassen (32), who had two Portland goals, got the Winterhawks to within one, at 2-1, at 9:53 of the first period. . . . Everett scored the next eight goals. . . . F Matthew Paszkiewicz scored his first goal for Everett and it proved to be the winner. A 17-year-old from Calgary, he scored in his 43rd game. . . . F Austin Roest (32) led Everett with a goal and three assists. D Dexter Whittle and F Ben Hammering each had three assists and F Raphael Pelletier (15) and F Caden Zaplitny (12) each scored twice. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored his 40th of the season for the winners. . . . Everett (30-24-3) has won three in a row. It is fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind Prince George and two ahead of Tri-City. . . . Portland (36-17-5) has lost eight straight (0-7-1) and is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers unleashed a 53-shot attack in beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 8-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . F Logan Stankoven’s 30th goal of the season, on a PP, got Kamloops started at 4:57 of the first period. The Blazers took a 4-0 lead into the second period, their fourth goal, at 14:17, off the stick of F Jakub Demek (1). . . . F Connor Levis (17) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Caedan Bankier (31) and F Ryan Hofer (37), both of whom signed NHL contracts this week, both scored for the Blazers. . . . F Ethan Neutens, a 17-year-old from Cochrane, Alta., scored his first WHL goal in his 53rd game for Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (39-11-6) will finish atop the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (23-32-3) had won its previous two games. It is eighth in the Western Conference, four points behind Vancouver and 12 ahead of Victoria. . . . The same two teams will do it again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . .
The Medicine Hat Tigers built up a 5-0 second-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers scored four times in the first period, two of them coming from F Brendan Lee (27). . . . F Tyler MacKenzie (17) had a goal and two assists in that outburst. . . . Edmonton D Rhys Pederson, a 16-year-old from Stettler, Alta., scored his first WHL goal; it came in his 28th game. . . . Medicine Hat (25-25-9) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Regina and four ahead of Swift Current. . . . Edmonton (8-47-3) has lost 10 in a row. . . .
G Bryan Thomson blocked 31 shots to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Thomson has three shutouts this season and five in his career. He missed a lot of the early season due to injury, but now has made 16 appearances. He is 9-4-2, 2.14, .933. . . . The Hurricanes took control with second-period goals from F Tyson Laventure (20) and F Brayden Edwards (8). . . . Duane Bartley worked his 1,500 game as the Raiders’ athletic trainer/equipment manager. . . . Lethbridge (32-21-6) has won two in a row and has closed to within three points of fourth-place Moose Jaw in the Eastern Conference. . . . Prince Albert (25-30-3) is 11th, four points from a playoff spot. . . .
D Hudson Thornton scored twice to help the Prince George Cougars to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Thornton, who has 20 goals this season, gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the first period and then snapped a 2-2 tie at 17:27 of the second. . . . Thornton is one of two defencemen with at least 20 goals; Olen Zellweger (22) of Kamloops is the other. . . . The Cougars scored once on the PP and twice while shorthanded. . . . F Carter Streek (15) had a goal and an assist for Spokane. . . . Prince George (30-24-4) is fourth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Everett. . . . Spokane (13-38-7) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll complete the doubleheader tonight in Prince George. . . .
In Regina, the Pats erased a 3-0 second-period deficit and beat the Winnipeg Ice, 5-3. . . . D Carson Lambos (11) gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead at 6:29 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bedard got Regina to within a goal with scores at 7:12 and 12:07 of the second, and F Tanner Howe, who also had two assists, tied it with his 30th goal at 18:43. . . . Bedard gave his guys the lead at 1:35 of the third and added the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . D Stanislav Svozil had three assists for the winners. . . . F Zach Benson of the Ice, who is second to Bedard in the scoring race, had two assists. . . . According to Rob Vanstone, who used to cover the Pats for the Regina Leader-Post, the Pats last beat the Ice on Feb. 20, 2019. Back then the Ice was playing out of Cranbrook. Regina had been 0-18-2 against the Ice since the franchise moved to Winnipeg. . . . Regina (30-24-3) has won five in a row and is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Medicine Hat. . . . Winnipeg (48-9-1), which leads the Eastern Conference and the East Division, will wrap up a 10-game road swing with a game in Brandon tonight. The trek started with seven straight victories, but the Ice now has lost two in a row. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades got to 40 victories for the 19th time in franchise history by beating the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1. . . . F Egor Sidorov scored twice for Saskatoon, giving him 37 this season. . . . Saskatoon F Conner Roulette picked up one assist, the 100th of his career. It came in his 181st game, the first 131 of which were played with Seattle. . . . Saskatoon (40-13-5) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 10 points behind Winnipeg. . . . Moose Jaw (35-22-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Lethbridge. . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Gracyn Sawchyn (18) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:09 of the second period and F Lucas Ciona (26) added insurance at 17:55 of the third. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal (28) and an assist, running his career points total to 280 in 266 games, the first 210 with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Americans had D Jackson Smith, 15, the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, in their lineup for the third time this season. He plays for the U18 prep team at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . Seattle (46-9-2) has won 11 straight and leads the Western Conference by 10 points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (27-24-7) has lost three in a row. It is sixth in the conference, two points behind Everett. . . .
The Vancouver Giants scored two goals 57 seconds apart early in the second period and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll finish their two-game weekend series tonight in Victoria. . . . F Karen Gronick (4) opened the scoring at 1:31 of the second period and F Ty Halaburda (17) made it 2-0 at 2:28. . . . Victoria twice came to within a goal but couldn’t equalize. . . . F Samuel Honzek (21) had Vancovuer’s other two goals. . . . Vancouver was without F Kyle Bochek, who drew a five-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he incurred on Wednesday night in Prince George. He also is a repeat offender; this is his third suspension totalling 12 games this season. . . . Vancouver (23-28-7) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Kelowna. . . . Victoria (15-38-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). It is 12 points from a playoff spot with eight games to play.
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