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Peluso provides immediate impact

BRAMPTON, Ont. – Anthony Peluso has yet to practise with the Brampton Battalion, but he’s made his presence felt in his first two games with the Ontario Hockey League team.

Right winger Peluso, acquired Friday in a trade with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, scored in his Battalion debut, a 5-3 road loss Saturday night to the Barrie Colts, and proved a physical force in a 2-1 overtime win Sunday in the second half of the home-and-home set.

“I think I’ve had two pretty strong games here,” said Peluso, a resident of King City, Ont., who turns 20 on April 18. “I think it’s important to make a good impression early with the coaches and fans.”

Peluso, six-foot-four and 235 pounds, had nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 36 Greyhounds games this season.

“I don’t think scoring is my primary thing, but I like to chip in when I can. I’ll be banging bodies every game. That’s my role.”

Chosen by the Erie Otters in the first round of the 2005 OHL Priority Selection, Peluso played 141 games over two-plus seasons with Erie before being dealt to Sault Ste. Marie in November, 2007.

“I had a hunch I’d be traded,” said Peluso, set to face the visiting Greyhounds at 7 p.m. Thursday. “But I was nervous whether it would happen or not. There are a lot of positives for me in this trade.”

Peluso is one of five players, including three forwards, the Battalion acquired before the trade deadline Friday.

“He’s a good player who brings us toughness, speed and skill, and he’s very aggressive,” said coach Stan Butler. “He’s done a good job for us.”

Peluso played at Barrie on a line with Thomas Stajan at centre and Scott Tanski on left wing before skating with them and others on Sunday.

“Stan was looking to change things around a bit to generate some more offence, especially with all the new faces around here,” said Peluso, who also has seen duty as a penalty killer. “It takes time to get used to the guys you’re playing with.”

Peluso was a sixth-round choice of the St. Louis Blues in the National Hockey League’s 2007 Entry Draft.

“I was with the Blues for two and a half weeks and I thought I did all right,” said Peluso. “I was pretty happy just to get the chance with them. They’re counting on me to develop while I’m here.”

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