Windsor Star

MEGHAN & SIDNEY

A pair of 87s on different tracks.

- BOB DUFF

Late in the second period, the Mercyhurst Lakers clung to a 1-0 lead and the Wayne State Warriors were beginning to develop a belief system that they could compete with the NCAA’s fourthrank­ed women’s hockey team.

Enjoying a power play moments later, Ruthven’s Meghan Agosta gathered the puck along the boards.

Agosta juked past a Wayne State defender into open ice, then zipped a point-blank wrist shot into the roof of the net that put a dagger through the collective hearts of the spunky Warriors.

The goal launched a hat trick, proved to be the game- winner in Friday’s 7-1 Lakers verdict in Detroit and served as another exclamatio­n point punctuatin­g Agosta’s status within the game.

Quite simply, that she is the best hockey player of her gender skating on the planet.

“When she’s on top of her game, she is one of the best,” Mercyhurst coach Michael Sisti said.

“She may end up being the best player ever.”

It says here she’s already there.

Agosta is the female version of Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.

Or is Crosby the male version of Agosta? Take your pick. The similariti­es are many.

Both captain Pennsylvan­ia-based teams.

Both were Olympic heroes in Vancouver, where Crosby scored the gold medal-winning goal for Canada in overtime against the United States, and Agosta was named MVP of the women’s tournament, scoring an Olympic-record nine goals as she also led Canada to a golden moment against the USA.

Crosby lifted a Stanley Cup to go with his Olympic gold, while Agosta owns a pair of Olympic gold medals and a world championsh­ip.

Both were born in 1987, the reason why each wears No. 87 on the back of their hockey sweaters.

Agosta, who leads Mercyhurst with Gretzky-like 13-10-23 totals in nine games, isn’t about to anoint herself the greatest.

“There’s a lot of great girl hockey players,” she said. “I want to be one of the best and to do that, I’m going to continue to work hard on and off the ice.”

She won’t call herself No. 1, but will strive to live up to that status.

“It’s a challenge I have for myself and I know others have for me.” Agosta said.

“Coach Sisti and his staff know that it’s something that I want to fulfill.

“They’re always on me to try and be the best, both in practice and in games.”

The Crosby parallels? She’ll happily accept those.

“I think Sidney Crosby is a tremendous hockey player, so dedicated to the game,” Agosta said. “If people want to say I’m kind of like Sid The Kid, I guess that’s an honour.”

The face of the NHL, Crosby will enjoy many years competing at hockey’s highest level. Agosta — a senior at Mercyhurst — doesn’t know how long she’ll be able to maintain hockey as her main occupation.

“I guess we’ll see come March once I graduate, but definitely one of my long-term goals is to continue playing hockey — I’m too sure where yet — and continue playing for my country,” Agosta said.

Majoring in criminal justice at Mercyhurst, Agosta interned this year with the Leamington Police Service.

“I would love to become a police officer and specialize in the canine unit,” Agosta said.

Mercyhurst will play host to the 2011 women’s Frozen Four this March in Erie, Pa., and Agosta intends to go out a winner.

“If we play like we know how, then we’ll be there,” she said.

Like Crosby, Agosta’s time is now.

Unlike Crosby, her long-term future is up in the air.

 ??  ?? PIERRE OBENDRAUF Postmedia News Sidney Crosby
PIERRE OBENDRAUF Postmedia News Sidney Crosby
 ??  ?? Meghan Agosta Getty Images
Meghan Agosta Getty Images
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada