There are times in hockey practice that Sami Shoebottom’s coach tells her to only touch the puck once during a possession.

It is not that Shoebottom is going to make a mistake. She’s not a bad player. In fact, she’s very good, and her Scarborough High teammates sometimes wait for her to do something.

“They do rely on her too much,” Scarborough Coach Caitlin D’Amour said. “We have a lot of those conversations, before games and in practices.”

Shoebottom has usually come through when needed, which is why the top-seeded Red Storm (17-1-1) will play No. 2 Falmouth (15-2-2) for the South region championship at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Colisee in Lewiston.

The North championship, between No. 1 Greely (19-0) and No. 2 St. Dominic (17-2), will follow.

The winners meet for the state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Both games are expected to be close, especially Scarborough and Falmouth, who went to overtime in both of their two regular-season games, one ending in a tie, the other a 3-2 Scarborough win.

In that Scarborough victory, Shoebottom tied the game with 47 seconds to go. In overtime, a Falmouth clearing pass went right to Shoebottom’s stick, and her shot sizzled just under the cross bar for the winner.

“You give her one opportunity, she scores,” Falmouth Coach Rob Carrier said.

Shoebottom, a junior, was the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year last season after totaling 61 points (46 goals). This year, Shoebottom has 63 points (48 goals) and comes up big in big games, especially against Falmouth. Of the Red Storm’s six goals against Falmouth this year, Shoebottom has five of them, and assisted on the other.

That is why Shoebottom will be covered heavily Wednesday. She welcomes the challenge.

“I know it’s not going to be easy,” Shoebottom said. “If I have a chance to score with a shot, I’m obviously going to take it.

“But it may not be me scoring. If a teammate is open, then I pass. Whatever it takes. If you’re helping your team get to state, that’s all that really matters.”

Falmouth will try to take Shoebottom out of the mix, like York High attempted in the South semifinals. Shoebottom did score all three goals in a 3-0 win, but the last two came in the final four minutes.

“York tried to (stop Shoebottom) last Saturday,” said D’Amour, who expects the same from Falmouth. “They’ll cover her and pester her. The other four (players on the ice) have to step up and have confidence.”

That includes Shoebottom’s linemates, Madison O’Reilly and Lucy Bogdanovich, as well as the defensemen.

Lily Nygren leads that defensive corps. She speaks glowingly of some of Shoebottom’s goals, but knows Scarborough may need more at this stage of the playoffs.

“Our coach is always telling us that everyone on the roster is capable of scoring and making something happen on the ice,” Nygren said.

Nygren’s biggest contribution, however, may come in the Red Storm zone, helping to hold off two talented and experienced Falmouth lines

“They have really fast forwards,” Nygren said. “Our defense, we’re kind of young and sometimes we don’t know exactly when to step up. That’s something we have to make sure we’re aware of.”

Being aware will be the key Wednesday night. Scarborough has to contain Falmouth’s threats. And everyone in the Colisee knows who Falmouth wants to stop.

IN THE NORTH championship, Greely is considered the favorites after beating St. Dominic twice, 2-1 and 8-4. In that last game, on Jan. 25, the Saints were without one of their top forwards, Avery Lutryskowsi (20 goals in 15 games). She will play Wednesday.

The freshmen-dominated Saints, with their speed, may have the most explosive offensive team on the ice Wednesday. Greely counters with experience, a fine-tuned defensive system and two solid lines, each led by a potent scorer (Danita Storey and Courtney Sullivan).