Connor Bedard and Regina Pats blank Giants 3-0

Rob Wilton/Vancouver Giants

Connor Bedard, a North Vancouver native, knows the expectations placed on him are nearly unparalleled in the history of hockey. The 17-year-old phenom and near-lock to be selected first overall in the 2023 NHL draft was asked whether he feels that any aspect of his game remains underrated. “I don’t think I’m the guy to ask for that,” laughed Bedard, who leads the WHL in scoring by double digits with 49 points in 23 games.

Bedard and the Regina Pats defeated the Vancouver Giants 3-0 Friday night at the Langley Events Centre despite a quiet evening from Bedard, who contributed one assist in the homecoming game. Regina’s Borya Valis opened the scoring with a power play marker in the first period, assisted by Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Stanislav Svozil and Washington Capitals prospect Alexander Suzdalev. Forwards Tanner Howe and Sam Oremba added goals in the following periods to seal the victory for the Pats, with helpers from Valis, Bedard, Tye Spencer and Tanner Brown. Although the Giants were able to pepper 47 shots against Regina, former Vancouver goalie Drew Sim exacted revenge against his former club, denying the Giants opportunity after opportunity, including five man advantages, to earn a shutout. Vancouver goalie Jesper Vikman turned away 32 of the 35 shots he faced. Sim is tied for the WHL lead in shutouts with two so far, while Vikman has struggled early in the season to the tune of a .895 save percentage.

Bedard, a self-professed fan of the Vancouver Canucks, said he tries to make time to root for the NHL team amidst the hectic schedule of the WHL. “Yeah, I mean, I try to watch as many games as I can. I’m obviously a big fan… We’ve been pretty busy so I’ve missed a few games.”

When asked which current NHL player he would most want to begin his career skating on a line alongside, there was zero hesitation: “Mason McTavish.” Bedard and the Anaheim Ducks rookie forward dominated on a line together for Canada at this summer’s World Junior Championships, en route to winning a gold medal. 

The Vancouver Giants, looking to improve their middling 8-10-4 record, return to action Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to host the western conference-leading Portland Winterhawks. Regina, currently sitting at an underwhelming 10-11-2 record despite the presence of Bedard, travels to the Island to take on the Victoria Royals this evening at 6:05 p.m.