Avery Lutrzykowski of Saint Dominic Academy is the Sun Journal girls ice hockey player of the year. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Her career didn’t end the same way it started as far as team success, but Avery Lutrzykowski left her mark on Maine high school girls hockey, and she did it with one final standout performance.

The two-time state champion as a freshman and sophomore helped put St. Dominic Academy in position to get back to another state championship game as a senior. Her final game was one of the best of her career, according to Saints coach Paul Gosselin, and it capped off a brilliant four years of which the forward finished with 164 goals and 126 assists for 290 points.

A 49-goal, 35-assist senior season that ended with the second annual Becky Schaffer Award is why Lutrzykowski is the Sun Journal All-Region Girls Hockey Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.

“I think (this season) went really well,” Lutrzykowski said. “Of course it didn’t end the way that we all hoped, but I think making it back to regional finals with this great group of girls was great.”

The final three points of Lutrzykowski’s career came in a regional-final loss to Lewiston. The Blue Devils had beaten the Saints 7-1 and 2-0 during their 18-0 regular season, but Lutrzykowski scored twice in the first period of the North final to give Lewiston its first deficits of the year. She later assisted on a goal to tie the game in the second period.

That her final point was an assist was fitting, at least to Lutrzykowski.

“I know my first two years of high school — my freshman and sophomore years — looking back on the statistics of those years, I kind of had equal goals and assists. I always kind of thought of myself more as a playmaker than a goal-scorer, so I think this year it was really nice to go back to kind of my roots, if you will, and be able to distribute the puck a lot more, too,” she said. “So I think this year kind of made me realize that I could be both a goal-scorer and a playmaker, which kind of was a happy medium.”

As a junior, Lutrzykowski had 23 assists while scoring 61 goals.

Opposing defenses set out from the start of the season to prevent her from scoring that many again.

“I think her mind was set that she was going to get covered, and it didn’t stress her out whatsoever. I think she handled it very well,” Gosselin said. “I think, from a play perspective, there were times when she was a little bit more calmer, I think, and more mature, so that she picked her pockets, for lack of a better term.

“I think that she felt the pressure, and I think, as opposed to struggling with that pressure at all times, I think she read it well and was able to take advantage of maybe some of the less pressure that happened on her when it came up.”

Lutrzykowski had a glimpse of what 2018-19 would be like late in her junior season.

“I think last year really prepared me well for this year, just with that because at the end of the season a lot of people did cover me quite a lot,” Lutrzykowski said. “I think this year, something that was a little different was that we had a lot of girls that could put the puck in the net also. We gained Bugsy (Hammerton) back, which was awesome. We also had Emma Roy and Isabella Webster that really helped.”

That extra scoring punch harkened back to early in Lutrzykowski’s career, when the Saints won back-to-back championships thanks to a talented class of girls that included Lutrzykowski. When some of her classmates moved on, Lutrzykowski became the focal point of team’s defensive game plans, and Gosselin said “she responded with even better preparation, better skill set, and was able to end up with 290.”

It’s an astounding total that the motivated Lutrzykowski was hoping to add more onto.

“I was kind of striving for 300, so it wasn’t impossible. But it’s a pretty big number,” she said. “It kind of surprised when I was looking at the stats because when you’re playing you don’t really think about how many goals you score, or how many assists you do, but after you kind of look back and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s kind of impressive.'”

Lutrzykowski said it difficult to look back on her career right now because she knows she’ll miss it next year, but she said the past four years have been probably some of the best of her life. They were also four great years for Gosselin as a coach, and he also isn’t ready to move on quite just yet.

“How do I replace that? I don’t think I can,” he said. “You know, 290 points in four years is just ridiculous. And there were many times where I held her back, so she could have easily surpassed that, no problem.”

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Avery Lutrzykowski of Saint Dominic Academy is the Sun Journal girls ice hockey player of the year. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham


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