Orange to Face RPI in Exhibition Game


The Orange ice hockey team will play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in an exhibition match at Houston Field House on Sunday, September 19th (3 pm) to start the 2021-22 season. Attendance will not be permitted at the game due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Orange enter the 2021 season projected to be second in the College Hockey America preseason coaches’ poll. Graduate student Jessica DiGirolamo will serve as team captain for the second year in a row with seniors Lauren Bellefontaine and Abby Moloughney as assistant captains. Sixteen of 20 members of the 2020-21 team return this year, in addition to five newcomers. DiGirolamo and goaltender Allison Small are back to anchor the defense after earning CHA All-Tournament Team honors last season. The pair also earned regular season honors, including CHA Defenseman of the Year and All-CHA First Team honors for DiGirolamo and All-CHA Second Team honors for Small. Moloughney was the 2020-21 CHA Best Defensive Forward and an All-CHA Second Team honoree, and defender Hannah Johnson earned CHA All-Rookie Team honors.


Four Orange players earned 2021-22 All-CHA Preseason honors, including DiGirolamo, Moloughney and Small who ere named to the CHA Preseason First Team and freshman forward Sarah Marchand who was voted  Preseason Co-Rookie of the Year.


2021 CHA Defenseman of the Year Jessica DiGirolamo is a leader for the Orange as a defenseman and offensive-minded skater. She holds the Syracuse record for career goals by a defenseman (27) and is tied for first in goals by a defenseman in a single season (10), first in career points by a defenseman (76), 10th in career points (76), fourth in career games with three or more points (6) and fifth in goals by a senior (10). She also ranks 10th in career assists (49).

Goaltender and 2021 All-Tournament Team selection Allison Small ranks sixth on the Orange career saves record list (1,196 in 44 games) and holds the Syracuse career save percentage record with a .925 mark.


Head coach Paul Flanagan begins his 14th season with Syracuse and 23rd overall as head coach. He has a record of 187-214-43 with the Orange and a 417-297-67 career record as the program’s only head coach. In 2020-21 Flanagan guided the Orange to a 12-9-1 record and a spot in the CHA Tournament Championship game.


Former Wisconsin ice hockey player Claudia Kepler joins the Orange staff this season as assistant coach. The Verona, Wisconsin native was an all-league and all-academic performer, serving as captain for her alma mater in the 2017-18 season. The team advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four and won the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season championship. During that season, Kepler was selected to the 2018 All-WCHA Second Team, leading the Badgers in goals scored and the WHA in power-play goals. In May 2020, she created a personal hockey coaching business called Hockey EDU.


Rensselaer Polytechnic institute will resume play for the first time since the 2019-2020 season after the decision not to play during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team finished the last season with a 0-33-1 record. The game will be the 11th meeting between the teams with Syracuse leading the series, 6-3-1, including a 5-1 Orange victory in the most recent meeting in February 2020.


The Orange will travel to St. Lawrence University for the regular-season opener on Friday, October 1st.

Admission to Orange ice hockey home games is free. All fans attending games must adhere to Syracuse University’s COVID-19 policy, which can be found here.

For complete coverage of Syracuse ice hockey, follow us on Facebook (Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey), Twitter (@CuseIce) and Instagram (@CuseIce).

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