THE BEDARD REPORT — F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats had his goal and point streaks snapped on Friday night in Lethbridge, but you know that won’t matter to him because his side beat the Hurricanes, 3-2. . . . Bedard now has been blanked in two games this season — the season-opener and Friday’s game. In between, he put up 90 points in 35 games. . . . He leads the WHL in goals (44), assists (46) and points. . . . His goal-scoring streak was halted at 11 games. He scored 22 times in those 11 games. In fact, he also had 14 assists over that stretch. . . . You have to think he now is thinking about starting new streaks on Sunday in Medicine Hat against the Tigers. . . .
The longest ongoing point streak in the WHL now belongs to F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers. He had one assist in a 6-4 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night as he ran that streak to 31 games. He has 68 points, including 26 goals, over that stretch. He has at least one point in all 30 games he has played this season.
The Travellin’ Bedards packed them into the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge on Friday night, with 5,378 fans showing up to watch them post a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . According to the Enmax Centre website, it seats 5,479. . . . It was the Hurricanes’ largest crowd this season and came in their 26th home game. The announced attendance on Dec. 9, for a 5-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, was 5,000. . . . On Tuesday, the Travellin’ Bedards had helped Red Deer set a single-game franchise record — 7,287 — as the Rebels won 6-5 in a shootout. . . . On Wednesday night, the Travellin’ Bedards beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5 in a shootout, before 17,223 fans in the Saddledome, which has a capacity of 19,289. . . .
The Travellin’ Bedards move on to Medicine Hat for a Sunday game with the Tigers in the 7,000-seat Co-op Place. The Tigers are expected to experience their largest crowd since 5,947 showed up on Sept. 26, 2015 for the first game in the new building. The Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3, that night. This season, the Tigers’ announced average attendance, through 22 homes games, is 2,207. . . . In anticipation of Sunday’s large gathering, the City of Medicine Hat has added free special bus service to Co-op Place. . . .
If the WHL playoffs started today, the Pats would be up against Red Deer in the first round. However, that could well change before the regular season ends. After Friday’s games, the Pats were seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points behind sixth-place Calgary and two ahead of the Swift Current Broncos.
“An audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office of the Athletic Department at LSU,” writes Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, “discovered that the university accidentally over-paid head coach Brian Kelly by $1,001,368 in May and June of 2022. The overpayment was discovered in November and confirmed in December and arrangements have been made to recover the overpayments. There is no allegation of any sort of nefarious dooings here; it appears to have been a ‘paperwork error.’
“Here is my take on that situation: Wouldn’t it be great to be in a situation where your boss overpaid you by $1M and that mistaken overpayment did not jump out as a ‘WTF moment’ as you did whatever financial management you do?”
The other day I mentioned here about how former WHL player/GM/head coach Doug Sauter used to joke about having invented the curved goalie stick because it was easier to fish pucks out of the net with it.
Shortly thereafter, a friend sent me an obit for Don (Smokey) McLeod, who died on March 11, 2017. McLeod developed quite a following while with the WHA’s Calgary Cowboys for two seasons (1975-77). He was, according to the obit, “known for being a pioneer at playing the puck as a goaltender and one of the first netminders to use a curved stick.” . . . Mark Howe was an 18-year-old defenceman with the WHA-champion Houston Aeros in 1973-74 while McLeod was the No. 1 goaltender. “Everybody talks about how goalies like Marty Brodeur and Ron Hextall handled the puck,” Howe said, “but back in the ’70s, Smokey was every bit as good as those guys at it, and I don’t think he ever got the credit for it.” . . . McLeod was from Trail, B.C., which is how he got his nickname. He won the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the spring of 1966.
FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Wheat Kings, 7-6 in OT, in Brandon. . . . F Connor McClennon (27), who scored the game’s first goal, got the winner at 2:01 of OT. . . . F Evan Friesen (7) had pulled the Ice into a 6-6 tie at 17:05 of the third period. . . . Winnipeg (37-6-1) leads the Eastern Conference by five points over the idle Red Deer Rebels. The Ice, which has won four in a row, still holds three games in hand. . . . Brandon (19-21-7) has lost three in a row (0-1-2) and is four points out of a playoff spot. . . .
G Jackson Unger turned aside 42 shots to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to 4-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . The Warriors scored the game’s first four goals, taking a 4-0 lead at 2:18 of the second period. . . . D Denton Mateychuk drew an assist on each of the first two goals. . . . Edmonton had a 43-27 edge in shots. . . . Moose Jaw (31-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Red Deer. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings (7-37-3) won’t be in the playoffs. . . . The Oil Kings will be in Calgary this afternoon to face the Hitmen, who didn’t play last night. . . .
F Zack Stringer, playing in his first game since Jan. 20, broke a 2-2 tie at 5:44 of the third period to give the visiting Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over his hometown Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Stringer, who didn’t start his season until Dec. 16 because of a torn Achilles tendon, had missed the Pats’ previous four games. . . . His second career game-winner was his third goal this season and came in his 118th regular-season game, the first 79 of which were played with the Hurricanes. . . . Regina (24-21-3) is seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points out of sixth and two from eighth. The Pats have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-17-5) is in fifth spot. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 6-4. . . . The Blazers opened up an early 2-0 lead, but had to overcome 3-2 and 4-3 deficits. . . . F Ryan Hofer led the Blazers with three goals and an assist. His third goal, No. 30 on the season, broke a 4-4 tie at 8:47 of the third period. . . . According to the Blazers, GM/head coach Shaun Clouston now has 527 coaching victories, good for eighth on the all-time list. . . . Kamloops (29-10-6) will finish atop the B.C. Division. It is eight points behind the Western Conference-leading Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Raiders (19-26-3) had won four in a row, including three straight in the B.C. Division. They are eight points from a playoff spot. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets erased an early 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . F Gabriel Szturc (13) got the Rockets into a 3-2 lead 57 seconds into the second period. . . . F Carson Golder (20) stretched the lead at 8:35, and D Jackson DeSouza (6) got what proved the winner at 6:53 of the third. . . . The Giants made it interesting with two third-period goals, the last one, a shorthanded effort from F Jaden Lipinski (16), came at 18:38. . . . Kelowna (16-26-3) is eighth in the Western Conference, seven points behind Vancouver (18-23-6) and two ahead of Victoria. . . .
D Hudson Thornton (12), F Riley Heidt (20) and F Chase Wheatcroft (29) each had a goal and two assists as the Prince George Cougars dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 8-1. . . . They’ll complete the doubleheader tonight in Prince George. . . . The Cougars had a 40-25 edge in shots, including 18-7 in the second period and 10-2 in the third. . . . The Cougars (20-21-4) are sixth in the Western Conference, three points behind Everett. . . . Victoria (14-30-5) is ninth, four points behind Kelowna. . . .
F Brad Lambert scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 6-5 OT victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . There’ll be a rematch tonight in Everett. . . . Lambert’s second goal of the game and third of the season won it just 54 seconds into OT. He’s got six points in four games with Seattle. . . . D Kevin Korchinski scored his sixth goal and added three assists for Seattle. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored twice for Everett, giving him a franchise-record 114 career regular-season goals. He had been sharing the record with F Patrick Bajkov (2013-18). . . . Seattle (35-8-2) moved back into first place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Portland. Although it was a foregone conclusion, Seattle became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . Everett (23-23-1) is fifth in the conference, three points ahead of Prince George. . . .
The Swift Current Broncos opened a 3-0 lead and went on to a 3-1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The visitors took control with PP goals from F Connor Hvidston (12) and F Ty Coupland (1) in the first period. . . . Coupland, from North Vancouver, was playing in his second WHL game. He was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . The Broncos were 2-for-8 on the PP. . . . Swift Current (23-21-3) is eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Regina and three ahead of Medicine Hat. The Broncos had lost their previous four games (0-3-1). . . . Spokane (9-33-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1) and is 13 points from a playoff spot. . . .
The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last six goals, four of them in the third period, in beating the Portland Winterhawks, 6-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . They’ll stage a rematch tonight in Portland. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek stopped 28 shots in winning his 20th game this season. His last 12 decisions have all been victories. . . . The Americans got a goal and two assists from each of F Jordan Gavin (14) and F Jake Sloan (18). . . . The Winterhawks were without F Chaz Lucius for a second straight game. . . . The Americans (25-16-5) have points in 13 straight (10-0-3). They are a comfortable fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Portland (34-10-3) is one point behind conference-leading Seattle.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have added F Gavin McKenna to their roster for weekend games against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes tonight and the visiting Regina Pats on Sunday. McKenna, who turned 15 on Dec. 20, is from Whitehorse. He was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft. McKenna has played nine games with the Tigers this season and has earned six assist, four of them coming in his first WHL game. . . . This season, he has 69 points, including 34 goals in 24 games with the SAHA U18 prep team. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels revealed Friday that F Kalan Lind will be out “week-to-week” with an undisclosed injury. Lind, who turned 18 on Jan. 25, is from Shaunavon, Sask. He has 42 points, 15 of them goals, in 41 games, after finishing last season with 38 points, including 20 goals, in 61 games. He was the sixth pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Rebels being a U.S. Division tour tonight in Spokane.
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