It took Kaleb Pearson awhile to get to the Ontario Hockey League, but he’s wasted no time in featuring on the score sheet.
The Attack’s 18-year-old “rookie” forward notched four points, two goals and two assists, on the first line as Owen Sound opened up their four-game exhibition season with a 5-3 win over the Sudbury Wolves on Sunday at the Bayshore.
Pearson scored 1:40 into the second period to give the Attack a 1-0 lead before assisting on Kevin Hancock’s goal minutes later.
Head coach Todd Gill placed the St. Marys native on the top line with Hancock and Nick Suzuki for the team’s first look in 2018-19, and he clearly didn’t look out of place.
The Flint Firebirds selected Pearson in the second round of the OHL’s under-18 midget draft in 2017 after he scored 28 goals in 35 games with the Huron Perth Lakers AAA midget club.
Instead of reporting to the Firebirds, Pearson spent the next season lighting up the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League as a rookie with the Stratford Warriors. He scored 39 goals in 49 games, good enough for second in the league behind over-age forward Frank Pucci.
He showed up at the first day of Owen Sound’s rookie camp this summer and impressed enough for Dale DeGray to flip a conditional 15th-round pick in 2021 to the Firebirds, and then signed with the Attack the next day.
The decisions seems to already be paying off, even if it is just the preseason.
Pearson assisted on Nick Suzuki’s second-period goal, and capped his night off midway through the third period by scoring on the power-play.
Daylon Groulx scored the game’s winner at 2:31 in the third period after the Wolves came back to tie the game at 3-3.
Macauley Carson, Blake Murray and Liam Ross notched the tallies for Sudbury.
Mack Guzda started the game in goal and stopped all eight shots he faced. Nathan Torchia relieved Guzda for the final half of the contest and surrendered three goals on 20 shots in his first action with the Attack.
The game was also the first taste of Ontario Hockey League play for new Attack rookies Nolan Seed, Manuel Alberg, Bryce Caruk and Griffin Wilson.
Wilson was the Attack’s first-round pick in the 2018 under-18 midget draft. The 17-year-old tallied 29 points in 33 games last season with the Huron Perth Lakers AAA midgets and was called up to the Stratford Warriors for seven games. Caruk, a 17-year-old six-foot-four centre, was drafted by the Attack in the 11thround in 2017. He posted 14 goals and 12 assists in 34 games with the Whitby Wildcats AAA midget squad last season.
Owen Sound also announced the signing of rookie goaltender Andrew MacLean on Saturday. MacLean was the Attack’s 10th-round pick in 2017. The Port Huron, Michigan, native played with the Honeybaked under-16 program last year posting a 2.16 goals against average and .896 save percentage.