The girl in the net: Denniss backstops Petrolia Oilers’ semi final victory at regional Silver Stick

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Chelsea Denniss of St. Thomas, stops a shot during the Petrolia Oilers U18 semi final game against Wallaceburg Wednesday during Petrolia Regional Silver Stick.

When the Petrolia Oiler Rep team punched its ticket to the Petrolia Regional Silver Stick B final with a win over Wallaceburg Chelsea Denniss was in net.

Denniss of St. Thomas one of two goalies playing for the U18 Rep team and the only female on the team which takes on the Lambeth Lancers at 4 pm today at the Greenwood Recreation Centre. While young women are increasingly joining teams in the boys leagues to keep their skills sharp, it isn’t something which happens very often in Petrolia where girls have their own league – The Lambton Attack.

Denniss has been playing girls hockey since kindergarten. When she didn’t make a team in the girls division this year, she decided to try to play for a boys’ team. When things didn’t work out with a boys’ team in Sarnia, one of the parents suggested the family look to Petrolia.

Denniss made the U18 Rep team and has been on the ice with the Oilers since October where the team has racked up a 6-5-5 record. Petrolia also claimed gold at the Beaverloch Farms Hockey Tournament in November.

Denniss loves playing in Petrolia. “I chose to come to boys hockey just for my development, because it’s a much faster game and they obviously shoot a lot harder,” she tells The Independent. “I came over and they were so welcoming and accepting.”

Denniss started in figure skating at the age of four and after being goalie for her big brother at that tender age, her parents signed her up for hockey and she started in net.

“I was just always drawn to the position. I don’t really have a distinct reason, I just always remember being drawn to the net.”

Being in goal, she says, requires a lot of “mental strength. You really got to hold yourself in those games even when you’re not playing your best. You just have to learn to pull yourself together. And just really be out there for your team.”