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Published January 26 2010

Preps plus: Stenerson making run at Spuds scoring record

Ashley Stenerson doesn’t know how the puck gets into the net sometimes.

The Moorhead senior chalks her knack for scoring up to luck.

“Sometimes I score it’s just a thing that I can’t understand,” Stenerson said with a laugh. “I guess I’m just lucky.”

If that’s the case, she might be the luckiest player of all time.

Stenerson is just 12 points away from tying Tanaya Reitz as the all-time leading scorer in Moorhead girls hockey history.

“I didn’t think coming into the year that it was necessarily a realistic goal,” Moorhead coach Jim MacFarlane said. “It’s tough to continue to improve every year like she has.

“With girls, there is usually a bit of regression in the senior year, and she has done anything but regress. There is no question this is her best year.”

The senior forward has 33 goals and 11 assists this season, giving her 233 points for her career. That ties her for second on the all-time list with Sara Halseth.

Reitz is the leader with 245 points. Reitz is also the school’s leader in goals with 162. Stenerson has 151 career goals. The Spuds (8-8-1) have seven games left this season, not including any playoff games.

“Sure, it’s been in the back of my mind. Who wouldn’t think about it?” Stenerson said. “It would be amazing to break the record, but if it happens it happens.

“It’s unbelievable to me, really, and it’s incredible to think that I’m being compared to two players like that.”

Stenerson has been with the varsity for five years, and has always been a goal-scoring threat.

Her arsenal of moves is seemingly endless, and she switches her approach often – sometimes giving a goalie a few different looks on a single shift.

“When she’s on the ice, sometimes I just shake and think ‘Did she really just do that?’” Macfarlane said. “Every shift this year I’m thinking that I might see something special again.”

There were a few moments last season where things weren’t so rosy.

As a junior, Macfarlane moved her back to defense midway through the year in an attempt to free her up a little bit from the opposition clamping down on her.

Stenerson said that the switch bugged her at first, but she also admitted that she doesn’t have the senior year she’s having without it.

“He told me after practice one day, and my first instinct was to get upset. You know, ‘I’m not going to score!’” Stenerson said. “But I talked to my older brother, Mark, and he said Macfarlane was a smart guy and that I should trust him.

“That’s when I realized how much more I had to learn about the game. I saw a different point of view I learned what defensemen are thinking and what makes them uncomfortable.”

Stenerson used to be obsessed with scoring, and would get frustrated if she didn’t have a point in her first couple of shifts in a game.

That frustration isn’t there any more.

“She’s more tuned in mentally, and she doesn’t let outside things bother her as much anymore,” Macfarlane said. “She shows up at every practice with a smile on her face.

“I genuinely feel that when she’s inside that Plexiglas is when she’s happiest.”

Stenerson is team-first now more than ever. The most excited she’s been after a goal?

Don’t look to any of the 151 times she has lit the lamp.

“Celebrating on the bench with the team after Heidi Erickson’s first career goal was as excited as I’ve ever been,” Stenerson said. “I don’t care as long as we’re doing well and having fun.”

Macfarlane said that Stenerson has turned into a well-rounded player that keeps getting better.

“There are lots of hockey players who are fast, and lots of hockey players who are strong. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be good hockey players,” Macfarlane said. “There has to be other things there. Her hockey sense and ability to get to open ice, and willingness to try different things are what makes her a good player.

“You don’t score 150 goals without having some idea of where the puck needs to go.”

And a little luck doesn’t hurt, either.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548