There were times last year when the York High coaches wondered if Tori Stocks would ever shoot.

“One game in Yarmouth, she skated around the zone three times.” Wildcats Coach Jeff Hurd said. “She was like an airplane looking for a runway.”

But now Stocks, a strong-skating defenseman, is shooting and scoring – usually in the clutch.

York (15-3-1) will need Stocks today as the second-seeded Wildcats take on top-seeded Scarborough (17-1-1) in the West region girls hockey championship at 7 p.m. at the Portland Ice Arena.

The East title will be decided between No. 1 Greely (16-2-1) and No. 3 Leavitt/Edward Little (15-4) at 5 p.m.

The winners meet Saturday in Lewiston for the state title.

Scarborough can boast of the state’s best record, but that one loss came at the hands of York, a 2-1 overtime thriller on Jan. 5.

Stocks got the game-winner in that one, beating two defenders.

Stocks also scored the decided goal late in Monday’s 3-2 playoff win over Falmouth. And recently in a 1-0 win over Lewiston, it was Stocks making the difference.

“She has an abundance of talent and she’s able to see the ice well,” Hurd said.

And Stocks, who has been skating since she was 18 months old and playing hockey since she was four, is finally a scorer.

“Shooting has always been my weakness. I would get so anxious,” Stocks said. “Coach was always saying, ‘you got to finish. You got to finish. You get there but you’re not putting it in the net.’

“This year, I don’t know what happened, but it started to click and I started finishing.”

Maybe it is because it is her senior year and Stocks figures she has to come through.

Stocks comes from a hockey family, originally in Massachusetts. Her dad, Paul, played the sport. Mom Nancy is a huge fan. Her brother P.J. played for York as did sister Sammy (now a freshman skating for the University of New England).

Stocks also plays on the Junior Pirates U-19 team, along with York teammates, defenseman Kendall Carr and goalie Olivia Drew. Three Scarborough players are also on that team – goalie Devan Kane, defenseman Sam Nabo and forward Sarah Martens.

“They’re great teammates and great competitors,” Stocks said. “It should be an exciting game.”

Scarborough won the first game between the two, 3-0 on Dec. 5.

GREELY AND Leavitt/Edward Little have faced each other twice, two months apart. The Red Hornets won the first game, 2-1 on Dec. 1, and Greely won the Feb. 2 game, 5-1.

The Rangers are 12-0-1 in their last 13 games (the tie coming against Scarborough).

“They’re on a nice little roll,” Greely Coach Nate Geurin said. “Nothing fancy. Just very focused, working very hard.

“They know what it takes.”

Senior forwards Paige Tuller and Meg Finlay are among the leaders. First-year goalie Maura Perry has been strong.

Leavitt/Edward Little has skated strong all year, with its only losses coming to Greely, Scarborough (in overtime), Lewiston and York.

The Red Hornets beat Lewiston 3-2 with nine-tenths of a second remaining in the second overtime in Monday’s playoff game. Taylor Landry scored all three goals for Leavitt/Edward Little. Taylor, a junior, already has over 100 career goals.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH