ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Meghan Agosta doesn't think her evolution into one of the world's best female hockey players is complete.
Despite leading the Vancouver Olympic women's tournament in points and earning the most valuable player designation, Agosta believes there is still room to grow before being considered the best.
"You know what? There's a lot of great hockey players out there. That's definitely my goal," she said at the Four Nations Cup. "I'm just going to continue working hard every day, not only on the ice, but off the ice and doing what I can to continue getting better and getting to that next level."
Based on straight scoring statistics, the next level would be a place no player has ever gone before. Agosta set an Olympic tournament scoring record in February with nine goals and six assists in just five games, while playing on Canada's second line with Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette.
At just 23, she was named MVP of the tournament. The Ruthven, Ont., product concedes the 2009-10 season she spent centralized with Canada's Olympic team was a breakout winter for her. With a quick, hard shot and creative hands, she led the team with 35 points in 21 games against international opponents.
There is a sense from coaches and teammates that Agosta could set a new standard in women's hockey if she's prepared to be a dominant player every shift with the national team. Olympic coach Melody Davidson, now head scout of Hockey Canada's female program, always acknowledged Agosta's talent, but harped on her to show it every game.
Agosta spent her 19th birthday scoring a hat trick for Canada against Russia at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, but didn't score again in the tournament. There has been an element of now-you-see-her, now-you-don't inAgosta's career with the national squad.
Current Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser agrees that Agosta needs to sustain her performance.
"She's a dynamic player. She's got great speed and can break open games and put the puck in the net when you need it,'' Wickenheiser said. "The evolution in her game is just understanding consistency and what it's like to bring day in and day out, which really sets players apart. She's still evolving and improving as a young player."
Agosta became a leader during her collegiate career at Mercyhurst.
The Lakers were not a women's hockey powerhouse when Agosta arrived as a freshman after the 2006 Olympics, so it was an environment where she was handed responsibility not just to score, but to help develop a culture of winning.
Agosta was an alternate captain her sophomore year and named captain for 2008-09, when she led Mercyhurst to their first Frozen Four appearance. "I'd like to think those three years with us really made a difference in that she learned how to move from a very good, almost phenom, to an actual elite athlete," Lakers head coach Mike Sisti said from Erie, Pa. "One of her dreams is to be one of the best players in the world.