Kaleb Pearson’s goal for this year is similar to every hockey players, have a better season than the previous one.
He’s off to a good start as he scored twice in Owen Sound’s 4-3 shootout win over the North Bay Battalion in front of 1,251 at the Bayshore.
In Owen Sound’s 3 pre-season games, Pearson has 3 goals and 2 assists. “I think (the 2 goals) builds my confidence. Last year I had a decent year but I’m really feeling good for this year. I’m always trying to get better offensively and defensively.”
Pearson put up 14 goals and 14 assists in his rookie season with the Attack. He said it was a busy summer as he prepares for his sophomore season in the OHL. “I was in the gym every day and skating with our Assistant Coach Joey Hishon twice a week,” Pearson said.
Kirill Nizhnikov scored the other goal for Owen Sound in regulation time. For North Bay, Brad Chenier scored twice and former Attack member Mitchell Russell added the other tally.
The lone shootout goal was scored by Attack forward Josh Samanski. Head Coach Alan Letang stressed that come the regular season, shootouts are very important. “At the end of the year you add up all those points and it could be the difference of making the playoffs or having home-ice advantage.
He did add that he has some guys in mind who he will call if needed.
“I have an idea of who I will use consistently(in the shootout). I think Kirill (Nizhnikov) will have some skill and ability to score in the shootout. You go down our bench, you got (Sergey) Popov, Ethan Burroughs was going to shoot if it got that far, and Aidan Dudas when he gets back. I have an idea of whom my 5-7 shooters will be and we’re going to roll with them.”
Letang added after the game that he was impressed with his two goaltenders Mack Guzda and Nick Chenard. Guzda allowed 1 goal on 22 shots, he was pulled around the 10-minute mark of the 2nd period to share duties with Chenard, who allowed 2 goals on 8 shots.
“Guzda gets to take a deep breath because he knows he’s going to get the bulk of the load. He can work on maturing and being a mentor to Nick and has to dial in his focus to play on any given night. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses, as long as he(Guzda) plays well he’s going to stay in the net and keep playing.” said the Attack Head Coach.
In Owen Sound’s pre-season schedule they had home-and-homes with Barrie and now finish exhibition play in North Bay Sunday, which Letang finds to be beneficial for the rookies to adapt to life in the OHL.
“It’s important. You play back-to-back all the time and you have to do the right things after a game to get ready for the next game. In the season when you have the northern swing, you might be tired or sore but you have to find ways to win and execute, it is a great learning experience.”
The Attack opens their 2019-20 season September 21st against the Ottawa 67’s. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30.