An Exciting Weekend Ahead for Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2024 at 10:00 am by Sports Editor

By: Gino Antimarino | @ginoantimarino


Syracuse women’s ice hockey (6-21-3, 3-11-2 CHA) gets set for another weekend series against another conference opponent, RIT (12-15-2, 6-10-0 CHA). But there is more to this weekend than just another couple of games. The Orange travel to Rochester for Friday’s contest and then head back to the 315 for a battle against the Tigers at Upstate University Medical Arena on Saturday. A home-and-home-ish series is just what SU needs to start getting some points in the standings. Syracuse currently sits at dead-last in the CHA and seven points back from a playoff spot. With only four games left in the schedule, the Orange need to almost win out if they want to at least have hope for a postseason. The clock is ticking and the time is now for SU to get back on track, and what better way to do it than to steal two points on the road and then in front of the Orange-faithful at Upstate?


Thoughts on the Upstate University Medical Arena Game

The last time Syracuse played at the home of the Crunch was back in the 2019-20 season. It was a Saturday matchup against St. Lawrence in which the Orange fell in overtime, 4-3. Despite the contest being a few years ago, some familiar faces got to partake in the special event. Syracuse defender, Rachel Teslak, played and tallied an assist, but did so for the Saints. SU forward, Marielle McHale, was at the game, but unfortunately, did not get to fully experience the moment. The alternate captain still reminisced.


“I was injured,” the grad student thought back to her sophomore season. “But I still was able to be a big part of the day. Like I still was able to go and watch and be amongst the team. So it was really cool (for the team) to just play in a rink that size and a rink that has a lot of history in it.”


Upstate University Medical Arena certainly has some character. The building was opened to the public in 1951 and has since been renovated twice (in 1994 and 2018). The arena just brings about a different kind of atmosphere for the players that take the ice there.


“It’s definitely just a little bit more exciting,” McHale explained. “Like it’s obviously a (different) place, but it’s still a home game… But it’s a little bit more exciting just because it’s where the Crunch play.”


Head Coach for the Orange, Britni Smith, said it took a while to get her squad back to Upstate.


“This has been something in the works for a long time,” Smith said. “So to be able to get there and play at a fantastic facility and to continue to build that relationship is exciting. Hopefully, this is something that we continue to do every single year.”


The Tigers

The Tigers ride into Friday’s matchup with the Orange on a little bit of a high. RIT took down the third-best team in the conference (and another school that goes by three letters), RMU. The Tigers beat the Colonials, 3-2 in overtime in front of the Rochester crowd. RIT split the home series, but both contests needed extra time. The Tigers may not be that much higher than the Orange in the standings, but they can hold their own against tough opponents. However, so can Syracuse as it displayed against a top team like Penn State.


A game at Upstate is fun for the players, but at the end of the day, they know they need to perform if they want to compete for a playoff spot. Can the Orange make the most of the uncommon set of games? Find out on Friday at 6 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m.