Though he is only 23 years old, it has been a long road to the NHL for Colorado Avalanche forward Samuel Henley.

“It was tough,” said Henley. “Starting in juniors, I wasn’t drafted. I had to work hard just to show myself, to prove myself.”

On Thursday, all of his hard work and years of dedication paid off.  Called up from the San Antonio Rampage earlier in the week, Henley took to the ice for his first NHL game.

Though he only saw 5:18 of ice time in the 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, he still found a way to contribute, making a good impression on his coach and finding his way onto the scoreboard.

“He did what we thought he would do,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. “He went out there and ran into some people, played with energy. Good for the kid, to come up, his first game and he just keeps it simple, flings pucks to the net, and he gets his first NHL goal.”

Though he had a goal, as well as two hits, Henley still wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance, knowing he is capable of more.

“I thought I didn’t play my best,” said Henley. “I got a goal, but we still lost the game…Next game, I am going to be better. I have a lot to learn from the guys here.”