The original “Hitman” in Calgary, Bret Hart had a catchphrase “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” Right now, most people in Regina are using those words to describe Connor Bedard.
In his first game back in a Regina Pats lineup after being away from the team for more than a month while representing Canada at the World Juniors, Bedard had a career day as he scored four goals and added a pair of assists in the Regina Pats 6-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen.
The Pats captain scored a pair of short-handed goals, a powerplay goal and an even strength goal to move his season total up to 31. The 17-year old also extended his point streak to 28 games.
🚨 Welcome back Bedsy 🚨#CB98 needs less than a period to score in his first game back, as he goes post and in on the power play!
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) January 8, 2023
Alexander Suzdalev and Tanner Howe added power-play markers of their own in the victory.
With the Pats in a playoff race against teams like Calgary, Bedard said it was important for him to get back into the lineup as he soon.
“I wanted to go out there and try to help us. For me, I don’t think I really thought about not playing.”
He added that he was happy to return to the Pats lineup with a six point outing especially of the heels of his team suffering a tough 6-0 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday.
Head coach and general manager John Paddock says that is captain has developed a sense of delivering in crucial moments.
“He seems to find a way to have a prominent result in the outcome.’
Sunday’s game marked the largest crowd at the Brandt Centre this season (4,761) and following the exposure at the World Juniors, WHL arenas will likely fill up during the final months of 2022-23 regular season with fans trying to get their final glimpse of Bedard before he likely heads to the NHL next season.
Paddock enjoyed having the enthusiastic crowd supporting his team as he believes that’s buzz in the building is a real benefit for the home squad.
“You’re just hypothetically it but I think over the course of the season if we were having five or six thousand, probably means five or six wins.”
Paddock says the energy of a lively crowd can pick up a team on nights when they are not executing. He pointed the Pats trip in B.C. as an example where his team thrived off the arena’s atmosphere.
Bedard feels that spectators are getting a chance to watch more than a single player.
“I look at it as they’re not just coming to watch me, they’re coming to watch the Pats.” He added “It’s not about the one man, it’s about our group.”
With the win, Regina collected their first win of 2023 after dropping their previous three contests. The Pats also move back to a .500 with the win as their record sits at 19-19-1-1.
Drew Sim earned the win between the pipes for the Pats as he made 42.
The next action for the Pats will be on Friday when they host the Saskatoon Blades at the Brandt Centre. Coverage on 620 CKRM begins at 6:35, opening faceoff is 7:00.
On Saturday, Regina will welcome the Portland Winterhawks for the second game in a two-night span.