That’s arguably 100 percent fine by the forward’s coaching staff, teammates and even Pearson.
If one ever watched a Junior A game for the Revolution this season when No. 20 laced up the skates, then you’d realize just how much value Pearson entails for Philadelphia. His old-school mentality and fearless approach out on the ice has impacted the team’s performance for the better. It’s not quite all about the stats but finding other ways to help the Revolution win and more importantly inspire his teammates.
(Revolution/Graphics & Digital Media)
Teams at any level that are seeking a playoff run need dynamic lineups and rosters that possess depth, plus role players. It’s safe to say Pearson has defined that for an EHL skater this season.
“Whether it's a practice or game he brings 110-percent energy and commitment to the team,” said head coach Jon Rogger. “He is a competitor that hates to lose, and everyone feeds off his energy.”
Speaking of those characteristics mentioned above, the Cherry Hill, NJ native’s physical and well-balanced play is appreciated by his club.
“Johnny is a fearless player that doesn't back down to anyone,” said Rogger.
“He plays a 200-foot game and will do whatever it takes to help the team win. He's not afraid to block shots when needed or take a big hit in the corners to make a play.”
Revolution goaltender Anthony Del Tufo actually described Pearson in a similar fashion to Rogger.
“His ability to play through adversity and trust our team’s system,” said Del Tufo, in response to what stood out the most about Pearson. “No matter the situation, Pearson is always a reliable guy to play gritty and consistently be hard on the puck.”
(Photo Credit/EHL Photographer)
During a recent interview, Pearson also expressed the pride he takes in his style of play.
“My physical play and that physical aspect I bring to the game,” said Pearson. “Not a lot of players do that (play physical) anymore. There’s not a lot of big hits or physicality in the game anymore.”
The natural center isn’t afraid to fight for pucks in the corner and execute an affective forecheck to help the Revolution produce offense, either. Those types of qualities can be utilized throughout Philadelphia’s lineup, too.
“He's what coaches love having on their team because you can put him on the first line and he will produce, or you can use him on the fourth line to be a physical presence to shut the other team’s top line down,” said Rogger. “He has been excellent as both a power-play and penalty-kill guy for us all season.”
While the 19-year-old brings an old-school approach to the Junior hockey level, Pearson earned a roster spot in a unique fashion with the Revolution.
(Photo Credit/EHL Photographer)
“Johnny had to work hard to be a top-six forward for us since coming to over last season,” said Rogger.
“He came from ‘AA’ hockey and made the jump to Junior hockey. He was mostly a fourth-line guy for us last year and slowly moved himself up in the lineup. His work ethic and determination are what earned him a spot as a top-six guy for us this year and logs a lot of minutes every game.”
It’s not completely uncommon for skaters to execute a leap from “AA” hockey to the Junior level, but Pearson would also be the first to admit that there is a big adjustment to consider. Let’s not forget that he essentially skipped the Junior B level to advance and excel at the Junior A tier.
“In youth hockey you don’t have to worry about fighting for your spot every night,” said Pearson. “In any level of Juniors, you’re battling for a spot in the lineup everyday at practice.”
When No. 20 isn’t battling at the rink, he’s usually lighting the lamp on NHL 2020 via PlayStation 4, or hanging out with his teammates. Pearson also shared a fair perspective and reflected on the adjustment he had to make when excelling to the Junior level, while appreciating his peers.
“Just hanging around everyone and the chemistry we have in the locker room,” said Pearson. “You play better when you’re comfortable – and when you feel comfortable, you’re confident out on the ice and that makes your playing abilities a lot better.”
While Pearson enjoys the company of his boys who also don a Revolution sweater, the forward also spoke highly of Philadelphia’s staff.
“I’ve probably gotten closer to them than I have with any other coaching staff,” said Pearson.
“Their doors are always open. All they’re asking for is if we put ourselves out on the ice for them, then they’re going to do the same for us.”
After watching the youngster skate and speaking with him – it’s clear he appreciates that aspect about Rogger, assistant coach Joe Matiskiel in addition to team president and general manager, Chris Kanaly.
Pearson plans to keep his options open for next season and expressed he would welcome another opportunity and year of Junior hockey before heading to college.
(The Philadelphia Revolution can be followed on Twitter @RevsJrHockey)