YARMOUTH — When it comes to competing against Michelle Robichaud, there might be something worse than trying to slow her on the ice.

How about keeping up with her in calculus?

“It’s just so much fun,” Robichaud said.

Calculus? Fun? Yes, she’s one of those students who sails through problems concerning absolute convergence and parametric equations while others wear out their erasers.

They come as natural to Robichaud as, say, taking control of the puck, skating end to end and scoring.

Robichaud is a Yarmouth High senior and one of the best girls’ hockey players in the state, named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team last year.

She was one of the standouts for the Yarmouth/Freeport team that had its best season last winter, going 14-5-1 and reaching the Eastern Maine semifinals.

“Last year people didn’t know about our potential,” Robichaud said. “Now they do.”

And they certainly know about Robichaud.

“Michelle is such a great player,” Greely Coach Nate Guerin said. “She’s hard-working and tenacious, and does a great job communicating with her teammates. She’s got great hockey sense; she’s always involved with the play when she’s on the ice.”

Robichaud emerged as a top player when she reached high school and finally faced off against other girls. She had been playing hockey from an early age but always against boys, on Casco Bay Youth Hockey teams or as the only girl on the Yarmouth Middle School team.

“With the boys, it was a completely different game,” said Robichaud, who often passed the puck as soon as she got it.

Then came high school girls’ hockey, as well as playing on the Portland Junior Pirates girls’ teams.

“I saw a lot of ponytails and everyone was the same height as me,” she said. “The level of play is different. I had time to look up and move the puck.”

Her talent developed but some habits from playing against boys remained.

“It might be why I get so many checking penalties,” she said with an impish grin.

Robichaud really doesn’t spend that much time in the penalty box. Usually she’s setting an example for her teammates.

“She’s the leader both on and off the ice, with her insight and guidance,” Clippers Coach Jeff Haley said. “(She’s the) consummate team player. Michelle’s teammates elected her captain.

“She has a true passion for the game and a tenacious style of play.”

That tenacity was evident early. And at age 10, when Michelle’s parents, Mike and Debbie, told her she would have to decide among her two sports, hockey and gymnastics, the choice was obvious.

“I knew I was more of an aggressive person,” Robichaud said.

And you can’t ride someone off the beam.

But when it comes to the puck … Robichaud fights for it and knows what to do when she gets it.

“She has a keen sense of the game within the game,” Haley said.

Haley initially had Robichaud playing forward but moved her to defense – the position she plays for the Junior Pirates. She still had 11 goals and 14 assists last season, when forwards Ariel Potter and Emily Johnson did much of the scoring.

Potter has graduated, but Johnson and two other seniors, Katie Brown and Hannah Williams, are back with Robichaud. The team also has grown with three players from Gray-New Gloucester High, making the Clippers a three-school team.

“It’s a great addition,” Robichaud said. “We’re really coming together as a team.”

The East again will be a tough region, including Lewiston, the likely favorite for the state title, Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland and Greely.

Robichaud will be called on to lead the Clippers. Goal No. 1 will be to stay healthy. She was only recently cleared to play, two months after suffering a concussion during a Junior Pirates game. That injury also cut short her cross country season (she also plays softball).

When the hockey season is over, Robichaud will need to decide on college. She wants to study finance and has a list of schools she likes. But some of them won’t afford her a chance to play hockey.

“And there are some (other schools), the reason why I would go to them is to play hockey,” she said. “I’m still trying to decide if I want to play hockey (in college) as badly as I think I do.”

No question she badly wants to play in high school, helping lead a team that wants to keep winning.