Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Communication, familiarity helping Templeman adjust to RMU

Templeman skates in the first home series against RIT. -- JENN HOFFMAN

Lexi Templeman has been playing competitive hockey since she was just three years old. Her hockey career began in Mitchell, Ontario, playing on her older sister’s team. This meant she was playing with girls who were two to three years older than her, and certainly much taller.

Templeman, now 18, is listed at 5-foot-2, making her the smallest player on the Colonials. Her small size didn’t deter her at age three, and certainly has not held her back at the collegiate level.

“I always remember being the tiniest one, and the jerseys were always too big for me,” she said. “At some arenas I had to be lifted on and off the ice.”

From the early days in Mitchell, she progressed through the ranks, spending two years playing boys’ hockey along the way. Eventually, she played three years for the K-W Rangers of the PWHL for juniors. She also had the honor of playing for Team Ontario in the U-18 National Women’s Championship last year, where she served as the team’s captain.

Today, Templeman is in her first year at RMU. She has emerged as a go-to player for her team right away, with 10 points in 12 games. She is clearly adjusting well to college hockey on the ice. A key part of her overallsmooth transition has been in the classroom, which is an essential element of the being a student athlete.

“Things are really good, I really like it here,” she said. “It’s really nice that it’s a small school, and all of the professors know who you are. I really like it that when we miss days for travel and stuff teachers are really accommodating, help us out, and catch us up on what we’ve missed. School is fairly similar to what I expected it to be.”

Thanks to her high school experience and current professors, Templeman is already having success off the ice as an accounting major. On the ice, she’s jumped right in and played very well at the college level. While it’s been a noticeable adjustment, she felt she was well-prepared to play at a high level.

“The biggest thing that I’ve noticed is the speed,” she said. “From juniors to the college level the speed definitely goes up a lot. I was really thankful that we had all those weeks of preseason so that I was able to adjust to that speed and try to get myself to that level with all of those top players in order to compete.”

Lexi Templeman deflects a shot against Penn State — BRIAN MITCHELL

Along with the beneficial preseason experience, the numerous veteran players on the team have made the process easier for her and her classmates.

“Different days it’s always different people,” she reflected. “All of them have helped me in some sort of way. They are very welcoming, always willing to do anything, answer any questions, and help us however we need.”

The team certainly had a unique experience to begin the season. They started with 10 straight games on the road, spanning thousands of miles, in places like Minnesota, Missouri, Maine and Rhode Island. The team impressed during the tough stretch, going 7-1-2. While it was admittedly difficult, especially for a first-year player, Templeman thinks the experience ended up benefitting the Colonials.

“It was obviously hard at first,” she admitted. “I think it brought us closer though. We were always together, we were never apart. It can be hard, but at the same time it helped us a little bit, and also helped us know that we did so well on the road that we can do even better at home. … It really brought us closer as a team and I think our communication has gotten better since then for sure.”

Templeman has been getting top-six minutes regularly to begin the year. Another area where she’s been particularly effective is on the power play. She scored three goals during the road trip, all of which came while her team had an extra skater on the ice. She attributes the success to a number of things. Her skill and the systems certainly help, but it really traces back to communication.

“I feel like I’m the type of player that likes to slow things down, kind of take a look around, stuff like that,” she explained. “So I feel like that [the power play] is one of my strengths. Also, the systems we run here are quite similar to what I’ve come from before.

“All of the girls are really good at communicating which makes it much, much easier. All the girls are always talking in practice, games, everything. Talking about different situations like how we had different opportunities. It’s really nice, and it’s really easy to adjust when you have the amount of communication that we have.”

Templeman

Lexi Templeman battles for the puck against RIT — JENN HOFFMAN

The team finally got to play their first home series of the regular season this past weekend, and continued its winning ways, beating the RIT Tigers 6-1 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday. Templeman had a goal and an assist on the weekend. Unsurprisingly, Templeman and the Colonials were happy to be home. Her first experience playing in regular-season action at RMU Island Sports Center did not disappoint.

“It was amazing,” she shared. “It was so nice to finally get to play at home. Such a relaxed feeling, but also at the same time, so exciting. Getting to play in front of home fans, my family was down for the weekend, I had my cousins here, the band was amazing, getting to play in front of them was a whole new experience. It was quite awesome.”

After another successful weekend, the team will get a well-deserved rest. They have a bye this upcoming weekend, and will take the time to rest and recover to prepare for their next series. That series is against a team ranked above them in the national rankings for the first time this year.

Playing a top-ranked team is a significant test for the Colonials. It is clear that they are prepared to put in the necessary work to improve their game as much as possible to give them the best chance to be successful, both against the Buckeyes, and moving forward.

“[We are] just getting prepared,” she said. “We know that Ohio State is one of the top-ranked teams, so we know that they’re going to be very good. So we are just working on our speed, and making sure that we don’t go backwards on this week off, but are always trying to improve and get better.

“If we can out skate every team in the country, that would be amazing. That gives us more opportunity to be able to beat them. Anything we can do to get better is going to give us a better shot at beating future teams.”

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