SACO — If you ever watched a Looney Tunes or Fred Flintstone cartoon as a kid, you remember the sound made when a character’s feet swirl into a blur of motion just before racing off at top speed.

A rapid crescendo of percussion precedes a whistling whoosh, leaving behind only a puff of smoke.

The Pirates have a guy who does something like that, rising up on his toes for three or four quick steps before scrambling down the ice with the kind of skedaddle you associate with the Road Runner or Speedy Gonzales.

His name is Lucas Lessio.

“He’s real quick and he’s got a lot of power in those legs,” said Pirates assistant coach Trent Whitfield. “He surprises a lot of D-men on the other side of the puck with how fast he’s right on top of them.”

Lessio, 21, is one of the fastest skaters in the American Hockey League. He scored a team-high 29 goals for the Pirates last season, his first full year in the AHL. Only three other AHL rookies scored more.

This year he has four goals, including the overtime winner Sunday at Albany that brought the Pirates back to .500 through 10 games after a 1-4 start.

“He’s got NHL speed and he’s going to be one of the faster guys at the NHL level,” said Brendan Shinnimin, who has been centering Lessio’s line and set him up for the winning goal in Sunday’s 2-1 victory. “When he gets the puck on the wall, he’s pretty tough to contain. He’s able to switch gears pretty fluidly and efficiently and is able to take defensemen wide and cut to the net.

“He’s got a shot that can help him finish, too,” Shinnimin said. “That combination is going to score you a lot of goals in professional hockey.”

The Pirates (5-5) return to action Friday night at Providence before returning home Saturday for the first of four consecutive games in Portland, where they are 3-0.

The first of those victories came on opening night when Lessio, a left wing, streaked down the left boards, swooped behind the net and, like a canny billiards player, banked in a shot using the goaltender’s leg as a side cushion. The goal came early in the third period, tied the score at 1, sent a charge through a big crowd and sparked the Pirates to a 3-2 victory over Providence.

“That’s a typical Lucas play,” Whitfield said. “He’s just go so much speed. He was down the wing and around the net before the goalie even had a chance to (adjust).”

On Tuesday, most of the Pirates had left the ice after practice at the MHG Ice Centre. The two goalies were gone. Most of the defensemen, too. Only one forward lingered.

Lessio stood in front of the crease, his back to the goal, as Whitfield flipped pucks toward him from the red line. As each puck fluttered toward the ice, Lessio attempted to change the flight path by tipping the puck with the blade of his stick.

“I try to practice all aspects of my game,” said Lessio, a 6-foot-1, 206-pound left wing. “Putting a big body in front is tough for D to handle sometimes, and just getting a stick on pucks is pretty beneficial.”

The Arizona Coyotes drafted Lessio in the second round in 2011 and kept him on their opening-day roster last fall despite having only five AHL games under his belt. He appeared in three games with the Coyotes before being sent down to Portland.

“There’s not many guys who can do what Luke can do, with his speed and his strength and power,” said Pirates Coach Ray Edwards. “But he has to find a way to bring other elements to his game. It’s your work without the puck. It’s a 200-foot game. If you don’t have the puck, you’ve got to work to get it back.”

Sometimes, Edwards said, gifted scorers have a tendency to wait for other players to regain possession in order to mount another attack. Even with all his scoring last season, Lessio’s plus/minus rating was minus-13. This year, he’s even.

“We’re asking him to use his speed and strength to help us get the puck back,” Edwards said, “and he’s done a real good job of doing that. I think the game on Sunday was probably his best as a pro. He played sound, structured hockey. He wasn’t part of many scoring chances against, and he was part of five or six for.”

Including, of course, the winner. Under the new AHL rules designed to reduce the number of shootouts, a seven-minute sudden-death overtime begins with four skaters from each team and, after the first whistle following four minutes of play, the teams go down to three-on-three.

“It’s fun to see him play in open ice,” Whitfield said. “I don’t know if you’d be able to stop him in a three-on-three situation. He’d pick up the puck and be able to go all the way.”

Off the ice, Lessio is often in control of the music in the Pirates’ clubhouse. Having grown up as an only child in a northern suburb of Toronto, his cosmopolitan tastes run toward electronic and away from the country music favored by some of his teammates with more rural backgrounds.

“That’s a little too slow for me,” Lessio said. “For morning practices it’s all right, but before a game, I try to stay away from that stuff. Before the games I try to get the guys amped up.”

Even when he speaks, Lessio’s words tumble out in quick bursts. It’s hard to imagine him taking, say, a leisurely stroll.

Still, he’s in no great rush to return to the Coyotes.

“They know that I have some stuff to work on and I know that, too,” he said. “I’m just here to get better so I can make that transition and, hopefully, the next time I’m recalled, I don’t look back.”

No, because as Satchel Paige famously said, something may be gaining on you. In Lessio’s case, that doesn’t seem possible.