Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey: Four Things to Look Forward to in 2023-24
By Andrew Della Piana | @Dellie_5
In the 2022-23 season, Syracuse women’s ice hockey couldn’t rekindle the magic to defend its CHA crown. Now with SU head coach Britni Smith entering year two, the Orange look poised to put the past behind them with a new vengeance in 2023-24. From the season opener on September 29 to the final puck drop, here are five things to keep an eye on this season.
1. Senior Season for Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson was Syracuse’s second-leading scorer in 2022-23 with 14 goals and 10 assists. Through her first three seasons, the forward has tallied 36 career points, tied for tenth among active CHA players.
Thompson has big shoes to fill at center after Lauren Bellefontaine left the Orange program with 1,718 career faceoff wins.
Over the summer, Thompson finished her second ‘Sticks Together’ project in Muizenberg, South Africa. The Ottawa native launched ‘Sticks Together’ in 2021 which provides children opportunities in sports after she worked on the concept for more than three years, brainstorming about the idea before the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. New Goaltender Between the Pipes
After two years of stellar play from Arielle DeSmet, Syracuse will have a new starting goaltender for the 2023-24 season. DeSmet, now an assistant coach at Lindenwood, finished her collegiate career in eighth spot on the CHA career saves list with 2,329 and recorded 1,680 stops in two seasons at SU, which is fourth in the Orange record book.
With that, Britni Smith searched the transfer portal and found former St. Anselm standout Allie Kelley, who led the conference in stops with 1,170 last year. The graduate student left the program with records in career saves, single-season saves, save percentage, and average saves per game.
3. A Year Under Britni Smith’s Belt
In Smith’s debut season, the Orange finished with a 10-24-2 record, ending with back-to-back losses to Mercyhurst in the CHA Semifinals.
The most important part of Smith’s first campaign was the introduction of the program’s six key values: intentionality, character, humility, unity, Syracuse, and excellence. Thus was born #ichuSe, which is pronounced “I choose.” The team utilizes the hashtag on all of its social media posts to emphasize its principles.
During the offseason, Smith spent some time with Canada’s best as a member of the coaching staff for the Canada National Women’s Team during its Fall Festival training camp.
4. Maya D’Arcy: Headline of the Backline
Defenseman Maya D’Arcy was named to the All-CHA Rookie Team after an exceptional freshman season. She established herself as one of Syracuse’s premier defenders, blocking 31 shots, which ranked third among Syracuse players. In addition to her lockdown defense, the Ontario native contributed offensively, scoring seven points, which stood third among SU defenders.
Also, she was named CHA Defenseman of the Week for her performance in a November series versus Post, recording three assists and eight shots, and later that month was named CHA Defenseman of the Month for her contributions.