Fresh off a trip to the Frozen Four, Ohio State’s women’s hockey team is right back on the road to conference and national title contention. The Buckeyes, which lose just a few players from that 2020-21 team – namely senior forward Tatum Skaggs and senior forward Emma Maltais (who will return next season, but is taking this year to focus on the Olympics) – announced on June 14 that they’ve added a trio of players from what was one of the nation’s top programs.
With Robert Morris ending its women’s hockey program a few weeks ago, forward Lexi Templeman, defender Emily Curlett and goalie Raygan Kirk will be joining Ohio State this upcoming season, a team release confirmed.
“Our job here is to win national championships and mold young women,” said head coach Nadine Muzerall. “I am very protective of our team’s integrity and reputation that has been earned over the years by these incredible young women. It was very evident early in my conversations with all three young ladies that they held the standards of excellence that we uphold within our culture. So, when I was given the chance to land impactful players who have a strong character and high academics – you do it.”
Templeman is likely the highest impact player of the bunch. She served as a captain for the Colonials last season, leading the team with seven goals and 23 assists while earning first-team All-CHA honors. She comes to Ohio State with 127 career points in 130 games, scoring 34 goals and racking up 93 assists.
“When Coach Muzerall reached out, I was thrilled,” said Templeman. “Having played against them in the past and knowing what their style was, I thought it was a perfect fit.”
Lapeer will immediately be one of the most experienced defenders on Muzerall’s squad. She played 130 games for Robert Morris over her career, and leaves as the program’s best offensive defender, scoring a program-high 43 goals. She was named to the 2021 All-USCHO Third Team and led the nation in power play goals in 2019-20 with 13.
“When I took into account all the resources that I’d have at Ohio State, the choice really became obvious,” said Curlett. “The chance to be a part of a program that plays and wins at the highest level along with the academic opportunities was something I simply couldn’t pass up.
“I remember being really impressed not only with how skilled they were but also how hard they played. That’s something that left an impression on me. And I think it’s a big reason why they are one of the best teams in the country year in and year out.”
Kirk comes to Ohio State with 38 starts in the last two seasons, an impressive 1.91 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. Star Buckeye goalie Andrea Braendli is returning for her senior season, so Kirk will have to battle to earn a starting role – though she has recorded a better goals-against average and save percentage than the returning Ohio State netminder (Braendli allowed 1.99 goals per game and had a .915 save percentage). Regardless of the order, this move all but locks up the best goaltending duo in the WCHA for the Buckeyes.
“My conversations with Coach Muzerall and the players went really well,” said Kirk. “I know Ohio State plays in a tough league against the best competition in the country and I can’t want to be a part of that. I love the culture and the way the team goes about its business. I could sense right away that I’d be welcomed here.”
Ohio State and its new players will take the ice next on Sept. 24 and 25, for a two-game series against St. Thomas.