Syracuse Orange women’s ice hockey is at a crossroads that many programs face following a coaching change.
Second-year head coach Britni Smith has the challenge of trying to blend the remaining members of Paul Flanagan’s final teams with her own recruits. It’s a difficult task that is evidenced by SU’s performance so far.
The Orange sit at just 4-12-2 (1-6-1), last in CHA entering the second half of the season. They won their first two games at Post University but have been in a downward spiral since, being outscored by opponents 81-36 so far. Five of those losses have come against ranked teams.
The issue hasn’t been in net though - Annie Kelley has been peppered with more shots than any other goalie in the conference, starting all but one game to this point, and leading the way with nearly 32 saves per game.
The puck has been stuck in the defensive zone more often than not, with SU conceding 37 shots per game while firing off only 24 of their own. Four different skaters lead the team with 5 goals each: grad transfers Kate Holmes, Rachel Teslak, and Darci Johal, and senior Sarah Thompson.
Things don’t get much easier for the Orange when they restart play against the same Colgate team who came into Syracuse and routed them 9-0 right before winter break. The remaining schedule features mainly CHA conference games:
- 1/9 at #4 Colgate
- 1/12-13 at Mercyhurst
- 1/16 vs #10 St. Lawrence
- 1/19-20 at #15 Penn State
- 1/26-27 vs RMU
- 2/2-3 at Lindenwood
- 2/9 at RIT
- 2/10 vs RIT (at Oncenter War Memorial)
- 2/16-17 vs Mercyhurst
Regardless of how these games play out, it’s important to remember that the CHA Tournament champs have an automatic bid in the NCAAs. More wins now could mean a higher seed, and less competition, later, but the season will ultimately come down to whether SU can get hot at the right time.