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Ace on the ice

Saugus grad now playing for Northeastern.

Posted: April 14, 2008 4:08 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Alyssa Wohlfeiler, a graduate of Saugus High School, is now a star in a sport dominated by men -- ice hockey -- at Northeastern University.

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Saugus High graduate Alyssa Wohlfeiler said her first season on the Northeastern women's hockey team was a little disappointing, because she didn't meet her own expectations in terms of helping her team.

But talk to teammate Autumn Prouty, and you'll hear that the freshman Wohlfeiler has already established herself as one of the leaders on the team and one of the most talented players the Huskies have on the ice.

Prouty, a Temecula native, has played with Wohlfeiler for five years, including four with the California Selects, a team based out of Huntington Beach.

So Prouty already knew what Wohlfeiler could do on the ice. And when the two got to Northeastern, it didn't take long for the coaches to get a glimpse, too.

They were playing against North Dakota at Ridder Arena in Minnesota, and Wohlfeiler had already scored her first career collegiate goal earlier in the game. Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie, sending the game to shootouts.

"One of our first games this year we were playing in a shootout in Minnesota. She pulled a move that was pretty incredible and pretty impressive," Prouty said. "I think that established her as a pretty talented player to our coaching staff. She pulls some crazy moves sometimes."

Wohlfeiler scored six goals and added 7 assists this season for 13 points, which was tied for fifth-highest mark on the team.

Playing Division I hockey had been a dream of Wohlfeiler's. In addition to playing with the California Selects team, traveling three days a week to Huntington Beach for practice, she also played with the boys on the Saugus' ice hockey team.

She also knew to play at the highest collegiate level, she wouldn't be staying in Southern California.

"I wanted to play college hockey. I knew it was going to be far away," Wohlfeiler said. The closest Division I school is North Dakota. But as long as I'm playing hockey, no matter where I am I'll be fine.

"It's almost a different world over here compared to Southern California. I love the city and I love the school," Wohlfeiler adds.

Wohlfeiler started out playing roller hockey when she was nine, and getting into ice hockey happened by chance.

"She was at an ice rink in the valley just to skate and she had her hockey gloves and somebody's mom saw her," said Alyssa's father Chuck, a police officer with the LAPD. "She invited her to come to one of her practices and that's where she got started. At the time it was strictly roller hockey."

Chuck said there were only three girls hockey teams in the entire state, the closest one being the California Selects. They played exhibition games against boys and played in tournaments against other girls teams.

Alyssa said she liked facing boys and when she was on the Saugus team, playing with the boys, because of the challenge.

"It really made me better because you've got to be quicker and faster with your decision making," Wohlfeiler said.

While playing for the California Selects, Wohlfeiler helped her team to a national championship in 2004-05 while playing for the Under-16 team. In 2005-06, the U-16 team finished in second place at nationals. She was a captain both years for that squad and was also a captain for the U-19 California Selects, which she played for in the 2006-07 season. Wohlfeiler scored 20 goals and notched 18 assists in 34 games.

Playing ice hockey was a big commitment for the entire family, but Chuck and his wife Dorothy could see it was important to Alyssa and that she had a passion for the sport.

It's a passion that doesn't seem to have waned at any point in her career so far.

"Her intensity is pretty high up there, Prouty said. "She cares more than anyone I know about hockey. She makes it her goal to be the hardest worker out on the ice. It's really impressive. As a freshman coming in she was one of our best players this year.

"Ever since she was a little she kid she was the hardest worker and the most tenacious kid I've ever played with," Prouty said.

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