June 22nd, 2024

Hurricanes welcome Bedard and Pats

By Lethbridge Herald on February 2, 2023.

CANADIAN PRESS PHOTO Team Red’s Connor Bedard skates to the bench during the second period of the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Bedard and the Regina Pats will battle the Lethbridge Hurricanes tonight at the Enmax Centre in front of a sold-out crowd.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The projected  2023 No. 1 overall NHL draft pick Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats make their first visit to the Enmax Centre tonight to face off with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Bedard is coming into the game riding a 35-game point and 11-game goal streak.

The North Vancouver, B.C. native has  90 points (44 goals, 46 assists) in 36 games with the Pats this season.

On what Bedard means to the league right now, Hurricanes assistant coach Matt Anholt said obviously he’s helping with a lot of ticket sales around the league.

“And obviously we’ll see that (Friday),”  said Anholt.

“It’s awesome for the league. He’s a special talent, (I) heard that he’s a really good kid as well and obviously hopefully we can have a lot more of these kids coming up in the Western League because it only helps.”

Anholt said you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right guys on the ice against him.

“We have some good defensive players on our team,” said Anholt.

“Some older guys who are hard to play against. You know, you got to takeaway his time and space. You’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t have a lot of room in the neutral zone and on the power play. That’s usually where he’s the most dangerous. We’ve got to do a job there and the best penalty kill is not taking penalties. We’ve got to make sure we’re playing discipline.”

The sold-out crowd can expect to see veteran Jett Jones, Chase Pauls and Joe Arntsen on the Bedard assignment.

“But we’ll try to get No. 7, 3 and 17 out there against him as much as possible,” said Anholt.

Jones said he’s a really good player.

“He generates a lot of success for them — a lot of offence,” said Jones.

“He’s for sure a guy you’ve  got to have your eye out (on). We’ll prep today (Thursday) and we’ll get a plan in place to play him.”

Jones thinks the biggest thing is to have awareness on the ice.

“(And) know that he’s going to pull some stuff off that other guys can’t and you know maybe just give him an extra stick length and stay on the defensive side.”

Anholt feels that you don’t have to be super physical on Bedard because he doesn’t shy away from it.

“I think you just got to be smart and stay in your lanes, and be responsible, and not take chances and you’re not going to trade off chances with him on the ice.” said Anholt.

“So, you know, just playing smart and keeping the puck in their end.”

Lethbridge won 4-3 in a shootout at Regina back on Oct. 16 in the first meeting.

The Hurricanes will wrap up the weekend in Medicine Hat against the Tigers on Saturday.

“They’re playing really good hockey right now,” said Anholt.

“Again same sort of thing as Regina, they’re fighting for a playoff spot. They’re a desperate team. They obviously (are) one of our biggest rivals, if not our biggest. We’ve got to make sure we don’t let them off the hook because a desperate team is a dangerous team.

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