By: David Souza
The last time Boston University and Harvard did battle in the Beanpot, the Crimson earned a lopsided 9-2 victory on opening night en route to their fourteenth tournament title. One year later the teams are back in action, only this time in the consolation game as they look to keep themselves relevant in the national spotlight.
Last week the Crimson fell victim to the Boston College Eagles, who moved on to the championship game in stunning fashion with an 8-0 drubbing of their foes from Cambridge. The result was even more surprising as senior goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer, one of the nation’s top goalies, was pulled in favor of Brianna Laing after allowing 5 goals in the first period. Exemplifying how good Maschmeyer truly is, the Alberta native’s save percentage is still 5th in the nation at .944.
A week off since their last game, the Terriers will be welcoming a Harvard squad that has played two games since their loss to the Eagles, a tie to Brown and a 4-1 win over rival Yale. Harvard’s recent lull will have to come to an end if they hope to vault themselves back into the Top 10 conversation.
The Terriers, on the other hand, found themselves in a hard fought battle against the Northeastern Huskies last Tuesday night, before ultimately falling 3-2. Alexis Crossley’s goal with just under two minutes remaining in regulation sparked a frantic BU push, but they were unable to net the equalizer.
The scarlet and white will be looking to their second line triad of Maddie Elia, Rebecca Russo, and Rebecca Leslie to be a spark for the offense as they square off against the 7th best defense in the country. Leslie, who assisted on both BU goals against Northeastern, is currently the team leader in points with 38. Her 30 assists are good for fourth best in college hockey. Her classmate and countryman Victoria Bach leads the Terriers in goals with 17. If they hope to best a goaltender that backstopped the Crimson to the National Championship Game, BU will have to be firing on all cylinders.
Prediction: BU continues its solid play and beats Harvard 4-1.
In the championship game, the Eagles of Boston College will battle the Huskies of Northeastern for the third time this season. In their previous matchups the Eagles were the victors by scores of 4-2 and 6-1. All of BC’s combined 10 goals came from different sources, save for a pair of goals by Kenzie Kent and Tori Sullivan. While the Eagles’ top scorers of Alex Carpenter, Haley Skarupa, and McKenna Newkirk are lethal threats every time they touch the ice, it is BC’s depth that has truly allowed them to skate to a 29-0-0 record. For when teams send out their top defensive pairings against the likes of Carpenter, it forces the second or even third duos to try and slow down the Eagles’ equally potent second line.
Backstopping it all is Katie Burt, the sophomore from Lynn, Massachusetts. While Burt has been stellar in her career at the Heights, she has failed to win the big game, much like her teammates. If she is to truly exorcise the demons of years past, she will have to win under pressure, starting with the Beanpot.
In the Eagles way stands Kendall Coyne and the Huskies. Coyne leads the nation in both goals and points with 39 and 68 respectively. If she wants to lead Northeastern to their first Beanpot since 2013, she will have to be at the top of her game. Coyne’s scoring is the focal point of her game, but her playmaking abilities also give her another level of depth. Coyne has the ability to set her teammates up, a big reason for big scoring outbursts from the likes of sophomore Denisa Krizova and junior Hayley Scamurra.
Freshman Brittany Bugalski has been impressive in her own right in net this season. She has shown up for big challenges for the Huskies, but this will truly be her biggest test thus far in her young career.
Prediction: The Eagles get over the hump and win their 6th Beanpot title, but have to wait until overtime to do so, 3-2.