Boston College and Northeastern finished on opposite ends of history at the conclusion of one Beanpot semifinal. With a 3-2 win, BC attained its first Hockey East victory and first victory over Northeastern in two decades. For Northeastern (7-16-2, 3-8-1 Hockey East), the loss was its fifth in a row.
A year after finishing on the brink of a Frozen Four berth, the Huskies hit a new low with a loss to BC (10-12-3, 1-6-3) coming off of two losses to Wayne State last weekend.
A goal by BC sophomore Kerri Sanders at 7:16 of the third period that broke a 2-2 deadlock proved to be the difference. Sanders deflected a rocket from the point by defenseman Sarah Engwall for the score.
BC will next play Harvard in the finals next Tuesday after the Crimson passed the formality of defeating Boston University’s club team, 7-0, in the other semifinal.
“Great to make history with our first win over Northeastern — ever,” Sanders said. “Hopefully we will take the momentum into Harvard on Tuesday.”
Northeastern peppered BC goalie Sarah Davis with shots in the ensuing minutes after falling behind, but Davis held strong. With 1:29 left, Northeastern coach Joy Woog pulled goaltender Chanda Gunn after a whistle, but the Huskies never seriously threatened in the final minute as the Eagles succeeded in trapping the puck on the sideboards down the stretch.
The win was especially meaningful to BC because its most recent game was a 17-2 loss to Harvard the previous Tuesday. The Eagles will now get a second chance.
“It was a major turnaround, especially to come back from a 17-2 loss,” said Boston College coach Tom Babson, adding that he had received calls all weeks from colleagues offering their sympathy.
It was a game of missed opportunities for Northeastern. The Huskies outshot BC 32-14 and 8-4 in the first period.
“I thought we played a great first period but we couldn’t put the puck in the net,” Woog said.
Northeastern got on the board first when freshman defenseman Theresa Ella scored a long shot from the point at 1:42 after the first intermission.
Boston College turned on the jets in the second period to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. BC senior Jaclyn Kryzak zoomed down the left side, walked in alone on Gunn and beat her five-hole to tie the game 7:56 into the period. Then third-line freshman Sarah Courtney roofed the puck over Gunn’s shoulder when she was set up cleanly in the slot from Kerri Sanders for the 2-1 lead.
Babson attributed some of the second-period success to new formations he had used to get the puck out of the defensive zone. Kryzak said she surprised herself with her speed on her score. Babson said Kryzak was skating as fast as he had ever seen her.
“What we learned from Harvard was, it was such a high speed, we had to play at a higher speed ourselves,” Babson said.
Northeastern tied the game at the end of the second period. Nancy Collins wrapped around the net and put the puck on net, and then Kim Greene finished the rebound to tie the game in the final minute of the period.
But it was to no avail. Woog said the difference in their losses to Wayne State and Boston College this has been the goaltending. Yet Northeastern’s Gunn was the only goaltender named a finalist for the Kazmaier Award on Monday.
“The difference has been goaltending,” Woog said. “In the past Chanda’s been a stone wall. We haven’t gotten the performances from her.”
Once since 1980-1981 has the winner of a Harvard-Northeastern game not gone on to win the Beanpot. That was in 1993 when Brown made a guest appearance in the Beanpot and won it all. BC’s victory over Northeastern puts an end to a longstanding Harvard-Northeastern rivalry in the Beanpot where four straight Harvard victories over the Huskies were decided in overtime.