Regina Pats star Connor Bedard recorded two goals and three assists, boosting Canada to a resounding 10-3 victory over the Czech Republic in quarter-final action at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship on Monday afternoon in Frisco, Texas.
Bedard, 15, made his presence felt from start to finish on Monday and was named Player of the Game for his incredible efforts. On the opening goal of the game, the product of North Vancouver pounced on a loose puck below the goal line, shoveling a backhand pass into the slot for Windsor Spitfires forward Wyatt Johnson, who buried to open the scoring only 2:01 into the first period.
After Seattle Thunderbirds forward Conner Roulette extended the lead to 2-0 moments later, Bedard found the back of the net with a goal of his own, giving Canada a commanding 3-0 advantage less than seven minutes into the affair.
While the Czechs got one back midway through the first period to slow Canada’s roll, Bedard extinguished any potential momentum minutes later, lifting a nifty backhand pass over the Kamloops Blazers forward Logan Stankoven, who tickled the twine to make it a 4-1 game.
The second period started much the same as the first – Edmonton Oil Kings star Dylan Guenther made it a 5-1 game only 69 seconds into the middle period, with another helper coming from Bedard on the play. Guenther laid claim to his second goal of the afternoon in the latter stages of the second period, giving Canada a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Bedard wasn’t finished yet, as he registered his second goal of the afternoon 6:54 into the third period. Stankoven chipped in with a helper of his own, returning the favour paid to him by Bedard to start the day.
Canada continued to pile on, adding another three goals from there to rout the Czech Republic and advance to the semifinal stage of the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Bedard, competing as a double underager in the event, served as an impact player for the Regina Pats prior to departing for Texas. The WHL’s first ever player to be granted exceptional status, Bedard led the Pats in scoring during the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season, collecting 28 points (12G-16A) in only 15 games. Selected first overall in the 2020 WHL Draft, Bedard is set to turn 16 on July 17 and is eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft.
Canada now awaits the winner of the quarter-final game between Sweden and the United States (Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m. MT). Semifinal action at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5.