Abbey Agrodnia, right, had 15 goals and 20 assists for Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, but the best part of her game was her defense as she led the Capers to the state championship game. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

The team counted on Abbey Agrodnia early in the season, and needed all of her skills at the end. 

In between, she was arguably the best girls’ hockey player in the state, even as a defender for Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland. 

The junior scored 14 goals and added 16 assists during the regular season, then notched a goal and three assists during the Capers’ run to their first state championship game. And while there are no simple statistics to measure defensive play, Capers Coach Bob Mills put Agrodnia’s play into simple terms: “Most forwards find it difficult to create offense when she’s out there.” 

For her efforts, Agrodnia is the Varsity Maine Player of the Year for girls’ hockey.

Agrodnia’s defense was important during the first 10 games of the season while freshman goalie Abby Steinhagen acclimated herself to the high school game, and before No. 1 starter Katherine Blackburn came back from an injury suffered during soccer season. 

“We knew we needed to support her to minimize the number of shots she saw, as well as take away any quality shots,” Agrodnia said. 

“We ran three defensive players all year, so Abbey would play the majority of every game in every situation,” Mills said. “She provided a sense of calm and confidence for our goalies and the rest of the team.” 

The Capers started 8-0 before losing consecutive games to the eventual No. 1 seeds in each region – Lewiston and Scarborough. 

Agrodnia said she went into the season wanting to be more aggressive on offense, and a four-goal game against rival Falmouth early in the season helped her gain confidence at that end. 

“It starts with her ability to see the whole ice and make good first decisions coming out of the zone,” Mills said. “She is an adept skater and skilled stickhandler, allowing her time and space to help create offensive opportunities for herself and her teammates.” 

Despite becoming an offensive threat on a team with a potent attack, Agrodnia said she takes a lot of pride in her defensive play. 

“My mindset this season was that no one was going to skate around me,” she said. 

Agrodnia showed her abilities at both ends in the regional final against Scarborough. Her assist on Bella Schifano’s tip-in goal that gave the Capers a second-period lead will always be a special memory, she said. But shutting down Scarborough’s “powerful forwards” was her main job that day, and she was proud of her effort there. 

Then she stepped up in the state final against a Lewiston team that led the state in goals. The Capers took the Blue Devils to overtime before falling, 1-0. Mills said Agrodnia was on the ice for the majority of that game, in all situations. 

“She was effective in getting pucks safely out of our zone when we were hemmed in, she minimized Lewiston’s chances, and typically was the first player to get to loose pucks,” he said. “It speaks to her competitive nature. 

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