ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Lexi Thomeczek didn’t have much of a choice when it came to playing hockey.

“My dad played hockey, my brother hockey and I wanted to be apart of the family,” Thomeczek says.

But becoming a goalie seemed natural.

“The love for the game is just from when I was younger,” Thomeczek says. “It’s something I love doing so I want to work hard at it. People around me were telling me ‘Oh, you are good at this.’ Just based on that I was like oh I can actually do something with this. It’s fun and it may get me somewhere.”

The game is taking her to play Division III Hockey at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. Thanks in part to the national exposure she had through the AAA Lady Blues program and six years of coaching by Joe Bova Conti.

“Lexi’s confidence has really grown and especially playing the boy’s game,” Bovi Conti says. “Being a girl in varsity hockey today is kind of a rare occasion here in Missouri.”

On top of Thomeczek’s almost year-round commitment to the Lady Blues, she also played boys varsity hockey for Parkway South High School in the Challenge Cup.

“There definitely aren’t a lot of girls playing boys high school hockey,” Thomeczek says. “A lot of times the boys just don’t really respect it. They try to target the girl a lot of time and a lot of the time it’s just not really a safe thing for them to be playing…But the numbers are growing.”

Although she attends St. Joseph Academy, she plays in the Parkway South hockey program, where she split time as the team’s No. 1 goalie in 2015-16. Thomeczek believes the change of pace from playing against the boys has given her an edge in the net.

“The girls (game), it’s just more a thinking game,” Thomeczek says. “You’ve got to outthink what the players are going to do before they even know what they are going to do themselves. And so jus the two different styles have helped me to become a well-rounded goalie.”

Bovi Contie, who is also the Parkway South head coach, said Thomeczek is probably the best goalie he has coached.

“So when she faces a shooter she reads the shooter,” Bovi Conti says. “You can be the best technical goalie or the best physical goalie, but if you can’t figure out shooters then you can’t figure out the game. And that’s where Lexi excels in that she has the mental game down.”

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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