Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can’t go home again, but that is exactly what Justin Pearson is doing Saturday night.
Pearson, a Nashua native and now a first-year player on the Yale hockey team, will return to the Granite State on Saturday when the Bulldogs take on UNH at the Whittemore Center. Game time is 7 p.m.
“We would always go to UNH games,” Pearson said. “That was definitely a family thing we did. It’s going to be really fun to play (there). It means so much to me. I know I’ll have a lot of family and friends that are going to be there. It’ll be fun to play in front of them.”
Pearson is a former star at Bishop Guertin and currently holds the distinction as the only Division I college hockey player who played four years in the NHIAA. After starting his freshman year on BG’s junior varsity team, Pearson worked his way to varsity by the end of his freshman year and was a captain as a senior. Pearson was the state player of the year as a senior in 2016 after putting up 54 points and leading the Cardinals to the state title game. He played a key role in Guertin’s state championship in 2015.
Pearson then went on to have a successful two-year run as a part of the Islanders Hockey Club before enrolling at Yale this fall.
“Playing at Guertin, I really got the best of both worlds,” Pearson said. “I got to focus on my development for four years, and I got to play with my best friends. We won the state title my junior year. That was the best feeling. So much came together. We had so much fun hoisting that title.”
Gary Bishop has coached many a talented player in his time behind the BG bench, and he spoke glowingly of Pearson and his ability to do it all on the ice.
“He was our power play (player),” Bishop said. “He was our man-down guy. He did every aspect of the game, and he learned how to do it because he was in that role. If you jump to the juniors too soon you go as a 16-year-old, you’re on the fourth line. You don’t get to develop those skills.”
Pearson has been given ample opportunity to shine in his first year in New Haven. The ECAC Rookie of the Week for Dec. 2-8, his eight points are tied for third on the team.
Note: Yale will be playing Saturday and Monday at Maine without top defensemen Jack St. Ivany and Phil Kemp away, who are playing for the United States at the World Junior Championship in Canada. The U.S. meets Russia today in the semifinals.