By: Jarett Leonard
For the fourth time this season, the Boston University women’s hockey team will meet cross-town rival and current sixth-ranked Boston College. Though there are no Hockey East points on the line this time around, a spot in the 39th Annual Women’s Beanpot Final will be at stake.
While BU comes into the Beanpot semifinal with only one win in its last seven games in the new year, defending tournament champion BC has not dropped a game since its 5-3 loss to the Terriers in November and has gone 12-0-2 over that stretch. The Eagles, winners of six straight contests, topped Merrimack College 4-1 at home on Wednesday while BU is fresh off a loss to the Warriors by the same score in North Andover on Saturday.
In the teams’ first meeting on Nov. 4, BC used a three goal third period to escape with a 5-3 win. After a goal from junior Nina Rodgers gave BU a 3-2 lead early in the final frame, Eagles’ freshman Delaney Belinskas scored twice in just over two minutes to complete the comeback victory.
The following day, BU earned a comeback win of its own. Down 2-0 and 3-1 in the third period, goals from graduate student Mary Parker and junior Victoria Bach’s second of the game evened the score before freshman Deziray De Sousa’s first career goal put BU ahead for good. Junior Erin O’Neil’s second straight 34 save performance was enough this time for the 5-3 win.
Without Bach and classmate Rebecca Leslie, who both earned silver medals with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team at the Nations Cup, BU battled to a 1-1 tie with the Eagles at Conte Forum on Jan. 7. A Rodgers power play goal in the second period was answered by a Kristyn Capizzano goal in the third period, and 45 saves from BU senior Victoria Hanson earned BU a point.
Parker has seen success in past Beanpots while at Harvard University, recording seven points and winning the 2014 edition of the tournament. Senior Maddie Elia has four points and is BU’s second leading scorer in the annual event.
BC’s senior class has also been successful in past tournaments, compiling a 5-1 record and capturing titles in 2014 and last season. Senior Andie Anastos leads the Eagles in Beanpot scoring with seven points in six games while Newkirk and junior Megan Keller each have six points. Burt has a stellar 1.00 goals against average and .942 save percentage in four Beanpot games and shutout both Harvard and Northeastern last year to earn the Bertagna Award as the tournament’s best goaltender.
Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena and will be followed by Northeastern and Harvard in the other semifinal match-up at 8 p.m. The two winners advance to the final, which is set for next Tuesday at 7:30 while the consolation game will come at 4:30.