Lewiston Maineiacs General Manager and head coach Ed Harding found it difficult cutting three players whom he really respects from the team’s final roster.

The Maineiacs let go of Tommy Dery, Pierre-Olivier Morin and Charlie Pens over the weekend.

“To be honest, it was very painful, especially for the two young kids,” said Harding. “They (Dery and Morin) have a promising future with the Maineiacs organization.”

The 16-year-olds made an impression on the Lewiston coach throughout training camp and the preseason. The talented teens will return to their hometowns to play in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League for a final season. Dery and Morin are expected to rejoin the Maineiacs for the 2008-2009 season.

“I expect them to come back with a lot more exhibition experience under their belt,” added Harding.

While 19-year-old Pens impressed Harding, too, the Lewiston coach said the team has plenty of young talent who will be seeing a lot of action.

“He (Pens) was a first-class kid; he kept his mouth shut in practice,” explained Harding. “If we had to, we could bring him back in emergencies.”

But Harding added that Pens will probably look elsewhere to play.

Although the Maineiacs have trimmed their final roster, Harding says it will be October before the whole team comes together. “I’ve got a few kids leaving for NHL camps,” said Harding.

That’s why the Maineiacs are keeping three goalies (Jonathan Bernier, Peter Delmas and Kirk Rafuse) on hand to start the season. Bernier might have extended leaves of absence to participate in the Los Angeles Kings training camp, and the possibility of playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championships in December and January.

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