Sam Henley has never been one to shy away from the puck.

Interviews, maybe. But not the puck.

His hard work and hockey sense shone through Sunday. The 17-year-old, second-year player ignited the Lewiston Maineiacs’ offense, netting a pair of goals and adding an assist to lift the visitors to a 4-2 win over Victoriaville at Levis, Quebec, in the teams’ second preseason game in as many days.

“He’s an example of what you can do with hard work,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “He’s relentless up there, and you can tell, hard work pays off.”

“Sam was unbelieveable today,” Maineiacs’ GM Roger Shannon added. “He’s really come into this year ready to play.”

Meanwhile, it was also another good day for the team’s young goaltenders. Tyler Piercy started the game and faced a barrage of 18 shots in the first period, stopping all but two of them. He stymied the Tigres in the early part of the second, and Antoine Bibeau, a 16-year-old drafted last June by the Maineiacs, finished things off by stopping all 12 shots he faced in the final half of the game.

“Tyler gave up two goals, but both of hose came on deflections, and he was facing a lot of shots,” Shannon said, “and Bibeau, for his first appearance, he had a special day. he stopped everything that got near him.”

After falling into a 2-0 hole in that first frame, Henley got the Maineiacs on the board in the second on a feed from Colton Stairs at 8:54. Lewiston finally connected on a power play at 18:33 of the second, with Stefan Fournier netting the goal on assists from his brother, Dillon, and Henley.

In the third, much like in Lewiston on Saturday, the Maineiacs carried the play. Henley added his second of the game early, and Ian Saab got on the scoresheet with 1:30 to play to tack on the game’s final goal.

Hawes already welcome addition

The Maineiacs completed a trade Sunday, officially confirming a transaction with the Shawinigan Cataractes. In that deal, the Maineiacs acquired Cole Hawes, a grinding forward with a knack for winning faceoffs, and sent to Shawinigan a third-round pick in the 2011 QMJHL draft, and a fifth-rounder in 2012.

“What I like most about him is how much compete and battle he brings to the table,” Shannon said. “He reminds me a lot of (Maineiacs’ forwards Etienne) Brodeur and (Cameron) Critchlow.”

The league approved the transaction in the early afternoon on Sunday, and Hawes was in the lineup for Lewiston for its 4 p.m. game against Victoriaville. In the game, Hawes saw a regular shift, won 10 of 19 faceoffs and delivered two good hits.

“I was really impressed,” Houle said. “He has grit, he’s good on faceoffs, and he showed a lot of positive stuff (Sunday).”

“He’s one of those guys, I can picture him here along with (Connor) Anthoine and (Christophe) Lalonde as a big piece of the future of this team,” Shannon said.

Cuts looming

The Maineiacs are expected to release up to 10 players Monday morning, though Shannon said Sunday the players haven’t been making his job very easy.

“The guys we’re starting to let go now, they’ve been way better than we expected,” Shannon said. “At this point, obviously, it’s a pure numbers game.”

The league mandates that the majority of teams’ cuts occur by Monday, to ensure that the younger players have a chance to enroll in schools near where they will play in Midget AAA or in Junior A.

“There’s a bunch of players who stand out now,” Houle said. “We’re pretty happy with a lot of these players who have come to camp this year. They worked hard and they all competed.”


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