When the girls’ high school hockey season began, sophomore Sami Shoebottom suddenly found herself in the spotlight.

Having played a big part in Scarborough High’s 2014 state championship run, Shoebottom was expected to be part of a contender again, along with two fellow All-State forwards, Lizzie Gross and Alyssa Hulst. But both of them transferred to Berwick Academy.

“There was a lot more pressure (from defenses),” Shoebottom said of the extra attention. “But we had other girls fill in.”

But it was Shoebottom who elevated her offensive game to keep the Red Storm a contender. Her efforts earned her honors as the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in girls’ hockey.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of scoring power this season,” said Scarborough Coach Caitlin Cashman. “Sami took that role on and did everything in her power to get to the net.”

Shoebottom, daughter of former Maine Mariners and Boston Bruins defenseman Bruce Shoebottom, totaled 61 points – 46 goals and 15 assists – leading the Red Storm back to the West regional championship game. There, Falmouth beat Scarborough 4-2, with both of the Red Storm’s goals coming from Shoebottom.

She went from being part of a championship team to one of the leaders on a team trying to repeat.

“This season, Sami really stepped up and came out of her shell,” Cashman said. “She loves her teammates as much as she loves the game, and wanted to do anything she could to make this season successful.”

And Shoebottom loved this season.

“Last year was fun, but we felt the pressure having to succeed,” Shoebottom said of the undefeated 2013-14 team. “This year, going into it, we knew we weren’t going to be considered the best – but we were going to try.

“It was a lot more fun. We laughed a lot more.”

And, maybe, Shoebottom settled more comfortably into the high school game, despite the expectations on her to shine. She could have also moved on from the high school game, but did not want to miss out.

“I play high school for fun,” she said. “I think it’s just the pride of playing for your school and your town. (The competition) might not be the best of the best, but it’s fun.”

For increased competition, Shoebottom also plays for the well-established Assabet Valley program in Concord, Massachusetts. There’s plenty of travel, but Shoebottom thrives on it.

“It’s a lot of work but, to reach that dream, that’s what you have to do,” she said.

Dream?

“My dream is definitely to go D-I (in college hockey),” she said. “I have two more years to work towards it.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH