Falmouth High figured to have a good team heading into the 2011-12 girls’ hockey season.

But a 17-1 regular-season record and state runner-up plaque?

“It was definitely better than we expected,” Megan Fortier said. “We came into the season not knowing how much potential we had.”

Of course, there was the addition of Fortier, who returned to Falmouth after a year of prep school hockey at North Yarmouth Academy.

Instant impact.

Fortier, a senior defenseman, could cover anyone with her quickness. And when she had the puck, watch out. Her specialty was taking possession from the Falmouth end and flying up the ice, zig-zagging her way through defenders and then snapping off a blistering wrist shot. Fortier scored 48 goals and added 12 assists.

Fortier is the Maine Sunday Telegram player of the year.

“Megan Fortier is the best player I have seen this season,” Brunswick Coach Bill Bodwell said. “She possesses great speed with the puck.”

She used that speed and puck-handling to the Yachtsmen’s benefit.

“She has a tremendously deep skill set,” Falmouth Coach Rob Carrier said. “She’s an excellent stick-handler, has an accurate shot, great ice awareness to find open teammates and, most importantly, she has a quick acceleration that makes it difficult for her to be defended one-on-one.

“Her ability to take over a game forced teams to game-plan for her, usually shadowing her or throwing multiple defenders at her we were able to take advantage of this by either Megan getting a quality scoring chance or finding the open player.”

Fortier’s offensive skill is not a mistake. On other teams, she might have played forward. Falmouth uses its best skaters on defense to protect the goal while also generating offense from the back.

Next year, Fortier will play forward at Colby College. She also plans to play field hockey for the Mules. She will take the spring off from sports in college, although she is playing lacrosse for Falmouth.

Accepted early to Colby, Fortier hopes to study psychology, with a minor in education. Leading and working with youth seems to be a gift.

“Off the ice, she is a leader, helping a team of 20 girls stay focused and working hard, especially when most players want to take it easy,” Carrier said. “She, along with our other captains – Monica Aaskov and Abby Payson – helped turn a good team into a great one.

“She is also a terrific role model for young girls playing sports.”

Fortier headlines the Telegram All-State team, which includes six forwards, four defensemen and two goalies. The exclusive group made for some real apples vs. oranges picks, especially when choosing representatives from the deep, balanced teams from state champion Greely and East No. 1 seed Brunswick.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH