Home College East Berne, NY Native Finds A Home In Goal For Syracuse Orange

East Berne, NY Native Finds A Home In Goal For Syracuse Orange

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BY RANDY SCHULTZ –

It may have taken Allie Kelley four seasons (2019-23) to get to Syracuse University to play for the women’s D1 hockey team, but for the Orange it was worth the wait.

“She battled for us in every single game,” said Syracuse head coach, Britni Smith. “She faced a lot of pucks this season.

“She continually showed grit and resilience in the crease. She gave us a chance to win every night she played.”

Getting to play was something that didn’t happen in her first college stop at Quinnipiac. She had knee surgery in her freshman year and when she came back in her sophomore season she was the third-string goalie.

Following that sophomore season, Kelley transferred to Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. In two seasons there the goalie appeared in 67 of the team’s 71 games and setting the college’s save percentage record with a .939 mark.

From there it was on to Syracuse for her graduate season of hockey.

“She was someone we looked to a lot. She’s also a great student athlete. She does very, very well in the classroom and her IQ translates to her game.

“She leads by example in terms of her ability to warm-up properly, cool down properly, get good lifts for nutrition. She definitely demonstrates what it takes to be a good Division I athlete.”

So how did Kelley become a goalie?

“I began skating when I was about six,” recalled Kelley, a native of East Berne, NY.  “We had a pond out back of our home.

“I don’t exactly remember how I got started as a goalie. All I remember is that I tried it, did pretty good, and kept going.”

Kelley was quick to point out who the greatest influence in her hockey career was.

“It was my dad,” remarked Kelley of her dad, who played hockey at SUNY Potsdam. “He was my coach for most of my early life.”

Kelley played most of her youth hockey for the Bethlehem Eagles. Before moving on to college, she played for her Voorhoessville High School team as well as the Connecticut Jr. Eagles.

But playing for Syracuse wasn’t in her original plan. Kelley played those first two seasons of college hockey at Quinnipiac.

“I had just had knee surgery so I didn’t play that much my first season,” recalled Kelley, the daughter of Tim and Christine Kelley. “I thought I might play more my second season there, but that didn’t happen.

“So I transferred to St. Anselm and played two seasons there (2021-23). Unfortunately, they didn’t have a graduate program so I headed to Syracuse. It was also closer to home.”

With one year under her belt, Kelley is planning on coming back to play for the Orange next season. Would she like to stay in the game once her Syracuse days are behind her?

“Yes, I would like to stay with the sport in some way,” answered Kelley. “Maybe in some type of coaching. “

What kind of advice would Kelly give to any high school age girl looking to mix academics with hockey?

“Have a good work ethic,” said Kelley, who has two sisters, Camryn and Jayden and a brother, Mike. Jayden and Allie are twins and Jayden plays hockey (she is not a goalie) at SUNY Cortland. “Don’t give up. And reach out to coaches early because things can get pretty stressful.

“Academics are also important to me. I’m not quite sure what I will be doing outside of hockey.

“But the graduate program I’m in at Syracuse (Exercise Science) is helping me to find that.

“I’ll see what happens after next season.”

(Photos by Janet Schultz Photography/NY Hockey OnLine)

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