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DaSilva a Chief reason Mississauga will contend for PWHL title

April 5, 2014

Oakville Beaver

As a seven-year-old playing hockey for the first time, Alysia DaSilva’s career path was set in motion very early.

Her Oakville house league team rotated players through the goaltending position, or at least it did until DaSilva had the opportunity to don the mask and goalie pads for the first time. After that, it wasn’t easy to get her out of the net.

That same year, she began playing softball. In the years that followed, most people who found out about her summer pursuit assumed the goalie would naturally gravitate to a spot behind the plate.

It wasn’t a love of having high-speed projectiles fired at her that DaSilva loved about being a goalie, though. Her choice of position in softball — pitcher — tells far more about her reasoning.

“I like the pressure,” she says. “I like being able to have a positive affect on a team, to have people relying on me.”

And when teams have relied on DaSilva, she’s delivered. She backstopped the Mississauga Braves AA teams to a pair of Ontario Hockey Federation championships, in peewee and atom. She was also a member of Appleby College’s first provincial girls’ high school hockey championship team. On the softball field, DaSilva helped the Mississauga North Tigers peewee team win the 2010 Canadian Fastpitch Championships.

Now, having thrown her final pitch to concentrate on hockey, the 17-year-old will try to add one more title to her resumé this week before finishing her junior career.

She and her Mississauga Chiefs teammates will head into this week’s Provincial Women’s Hockey League championship tournament at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex looking to win the team’s first PWHL championship. Mississauga finished second in the PWHL with a 32-5-1 record, just two points back of the front-running Nepean Wildcats.

“We definitely have a team that can take it all,” DaSilva said. “We’ve got a lot of depth, our defensive game has been really good this year and we have two girls (Victoria Bach, who played high school hockey at Holy Trinity and King’s Christian and led the PWHL in scoring, and Ainsley MacMillan) coming back from winning gold at (under-18) worlds.”

Oakville native Lindsay Agnew has also enjoyed a solid rookie season with Mississauga, with 25 points in 37 games to rank fifth on the Chiefs. She also helped Ontario Blue win a silver medal at the national U18 championships, scoring a pair of goals in a 4-3 win over Team Atlantic in the opening game of the tournament.

Like Agnew, DaSilva was just 15 when she made her debut in the league. The Chiefs made the final four in her first two seasons but couldn’t get past the semifinals each time. Over her three seasons, she’s compiled 38 wins, fourth best all-time and just four behind the all-time PWHL leader (and fellow Oakville native) Nicole Paniccia.

“It’s crazy how fast it’s gone by,” DaSilva said.

This will be her final chance to win the PWHL title as she heads to Princeton University next year, where she hopes to study economics and social sciences.

“As soon as I went to visit the campus and met with the coaches, there was no question,” she said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience and definitely hockey is one of the things I’m most excited about.”

And not to put any pressure on her — not that she’d mind — DaSilva will play a key role in Mississauga’s title hopes. She led the PWHL with a .956 save percentage while going 15-3-1 with a 1.20 goals-against average (third best in the league).

And though her PWHL career has flown by quickly, winning the league title in Oakville this weekend would make for a nice lasting memory.

“I’m so excited,” DaSilva said.  “I haven’t got to play much in my hometown. We’re not the home team, but being in my hometown for my final games should be a lot of fun.”

The PWHL championship tournament, hosted by the Oakville Hornets, begins Thursday with four games beginning at 7 p.m. Each of the eight teams plays twice Friday with games from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The teams wrap up the round robin Saturday morning with the semifinals played that evening at 6 and 8 p.m.

The bronze-medal game is Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and the gold-medal game is at 2:30 p.m. Admission to all games is free.

For a full schedule of the tournament games, visit www.pwhl.pointstreak.com.

Article source: http://www.insidehalton.com/sports-story/4444159-dasilva-a-chief-reason-mississauga-will-contend-for-pwhl-title/

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