Avery Lutrzykowski was in the left circle when the puck came sliding to her, hitting her skate.

“I just passed it myself and shot it,” Lutrzykowski said.

Only 3.7 seconds remained when her shot sailed over the goalie’s pad and into the Greely net. St. Dominic had knocked off the previously unbeaten Rangers for the 2016 North girls’ hockey title.

Lutrzykowski was only a freshman. But it would be her greatest point … of the 290 she recorded in her high school career.

It has been quite a career. She helped the Saints win two state championships, then carried her team’s offense last year and led St. Dom’s to the North final this year. Her senior year featured 49 goals, 35 assists, the Becky Schaffer Award – given to the most-deserving senior – and now the Varsity Maine Girls’ Hockey Player of the Year award.

“She is a natural talent,” St. Dom’s Coach Paul Gosselin said. “Very driven, hard-working, very elusive, can cut on a dime. She anticipates and reads plays well – all the while being unselfish.”

Lutrzykowski was part of a group of five freshmen who made the Saints an instant powerhouse. Most played together in youth hockey.

“We went into it (their freshman season) not thinking we could get to states, let alone win it,” she said. “But throughout the year, we started getting a little more confidence.”

The only two losses for St. Dom’s that season were to Greely. The Saints avenged those defeats in the regional final, then beat Scarborough for the state title.

The next year, they went undefeated and won another state title. Lutrzykowski, along with her teammates, received plenty of attention – even if her name was often misspelled or mispronounced.

“It’s more often pronounced wrong,” Lutrzykowski said, adding a simple formula to remember. “Just think about letting your cow ski …

“Let-your-cow-ski.”

A challenge bigger than pronunciation faced Lutrzykowski her junior year. Two teammates transferred to prep schools and another was injured for the year, leaving Lutrzykowski as the only forward remaining from that outstanding (along with defenseman Emma Theriault).

“That was tough on her,” Gosselin said. “She was the lone target and we worked on freeing her up.

“All the attention did was make her more determined.”

Lutrzykowski would be gassed after incredibly long shifts.

“I didn’t go off that often. It was my fault. I did it to myself,” she said.

Lutrzykowski felt responsible. “If something bad happened when I was not out there, I felt like I was to blame.”

St. Dom’s still was the second seed in the North but lost to eventual state champion Greely in the playoffs.

During her career, Lutrzykowski kept hearing she should leave for better competition in prep school.

“There were a lot of things that made me want to stay here,” she said. “I have friends here. There are certain things the school offers, like Mission to Mississippi (a service trip for seniors during their spring break). I really wanted to go on that.”

Lutrzykowski stayed, to the delight of her Gosselin.

“She was an absolute joy to coach,” he said. “She was co-captain with Emma Theriault – great mentors to the young players.”

Lutrzykowski will attend the University of New England, where she will study nursing, and hopes to continue playing hockey.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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