Syracuse Women’s Hockey Hangs Tough with Top-5 Opponent Last Weekend

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023 at 12:34 pm by Sports Editor

By Andrew Della Piana | @dellie_5


This season, No. 5 Clarkson was one of four ranked opponents on Syracuse’s schedule, with two others collecting votes in the poll. When asked about losing only 4-1 and 5-0 to the final team in Division I Hockey without a defeat, head coach Britni Smith was pleased that her team stayed close to the Golden Knights for the majority  of the two games. 

“We played very well defensively, and we kept games close,” Smith said. “They are a team [Clakrson] that can turn around offense pretty quickly, and they were able to capitalize. I thought we did a good job overall in 5-on-5. Our penalty kill didn’t work on Saturday, and that was the difference in our game.”

More specifically, the Golden Knights converted on half of their power play opportunities (3-for-6) while keeping the Orange to 0-for-3, handing SU its eighth loss in nine games.

While Syracuse did not have success on the ice, Smith returned to Potsdam for the second time behind the Orange bench, having previously worked as an assistant coach at Clarkson from 2014 to 2022.

Smith was a key contributor to the Golden Knights’s 207-60-26 record during that span, which included four 30-win seasons, three conference tournament titles, and back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2017 and 2018.

“It’s always good to return; I spent 8 years there,” Smith said. “It was good to see some friends and people I used to live with.”

The Orange continued to be highlighted by their goaltender, Allie Kelley. The graduate student recorded 42 saves on Saturday, the second-best performance in her 16 games for the ‘Cuse. She moved to 16th on the Syracuse single-season record list with 508 saves overall, having achieved at least 30 saves in 11 games this season.

Syracuse plays a home-and-home series against RIT this weekend with the first game on Friday at Tennity and the second game on Saturday in Rochester. With a 0-5-1 record in CHA play and only one point to SU’s name, the moment for Smith’s squad to turn the page needs to be now.

“It’s go time for us,” Smith said. “We’re pretty intentional with our practices, and we know that at this stage, we need to start earning points in league play. For us, it’s always about paying attention to the process and our process feels like playoffs a little earlier.”

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