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Devils Lake's Ashlyn Abrahamson has more than 100 career goals and still rolling

Jan. 2—DEVILS LAKE — Devils Lake senior Ashlyn Abrahamson entered the North Dakota high school girls hockey season with two big aspirations.

She wanted to be the best player in the state, and she wanted to score 50 goals.

The six-year varsity player is off to a strong start to achieving both accomplishments.

Abrahamson has 22 goals and seven assists so far this year, running away with the state scoring title for the second year in a row.

Abrahamson came up just short of 50 goals as a junior. She had 45 goals and 10 assists. It was 12 points better than second place in the state in scoring, and she was the only player in the state to score more than 20 goals last year.

Earlier this season, Abrahamson scored her 100th career varsity goal. The goal came in Devils Lake against two-time defending state champion Fargo North-South.

"I'll remember it forever," Abrahamson said. "That's a big accomplishment, especially for Devils Lake hockey. It was so awesome to be the first in Devils Lake to do that."

Abrahamson's 29 points this year are 10 points better than anyone in the state and nine goals better than anyone.

Before leading the state in scoring as a junior and senior, Abrahamson led Devils Lake in scoring as a sophomore and freshman.

As a seventh-grader, after missing some time with injury and illness, Abrahamson joined the Devils Lake lineup late in the year.

In a state qualifier against Jamestown, the game went to a shootout.

Devils Lake coach Rob McIvor elected to put Abrahamson out to take the first shot of the shootout.

"Being a seventh-grader, she was, like, 'What? Me?'" McIvor recalled. "I told her if you can score (on our goalie), you can score on this girl. Just do your move, and you'll be fine. She scored, won the game and got to go to state."

It was up from there for Abrahamson.

"As she progressed, it's pretty easy to say she can find open ice," McIvor said. "She's always been able find open ice. Her shooting took a while to come around. She was pretty tiny as a seventh-grader and eighth-grader. As a ninth-grader, she sprouted up and got stronger and her shot got a whole lot better. It's fun to watch her shoot."

But wins haven't always come easy for Devils Lake, a school with smaller enrollment than many across the league.

"Everyone wants to win," McIvor said. "Since the one group went to state two years in a row, we haven't been back since. She wants to go again as a senior, but her effort is never determined by winning."

The Firebirds have won nine games across the last four seasons, sitting at 3-8 this season. Devils Lake went 1-20 during Abrahamson's sophomore season.

"Our team is young and improving," Abrahamson said. "We're learning and starting to compete. We beat Bismarck this year, which was a big win for us."

For Abrahamson, it's strange to see prep hockey come to a close.

"It's crazy that people I grew up playing hockey with are graduating from college when I'm graduating from high school," Abrahamson said, "but it's been the best six years of my life."

Despite the success in a small town, Abrahamson said she was never driven to leave Devils Lake.

"You see kids moving away, but I just never wanted to do that," Abrahamson said. "I wanted to see what recognition I could get here. I like Devils Lake a lot. The community really supports every sport."

Abrahamson's hockey career is far from over. She plans to play for NCAA Division III Hamline in St. Paul next season. She verbally committed earlier this year and plans to sign a letter of intent soon.

For now, though, Abrahamson is focused on getting back to the state tournament. She's been there twice, finishing fourth as an eighth-grader.

"(Losing) definitely gets frustrating but it pushes me to do my best," Abrahamson said. "We want to be in the win column. We worked really hard in the offseason. I want to try do what I can and see what happens."

Devils Lake has been competitive even in losses this season. The Firebirds were tied 2-2 with Fargo North-South going into the third period before running into penalty trouble. They lost to Fargo Davies with 20 seconds left in overtime.

"We've started to play better defense, and the wins have come after that," McIvor said.