Women’s Hockey: Late Heroics Seal Victory for Eagles

By: Jarett Leonard

Two third period tallies pushed #6 Boston College past Boston University 3-2 on Monday night and into the Women’s Beanpot championship for a fifth consecutive year.

“Playing in a tournament to be the best in Boston is something you want to do every year and to get to that final game is great,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “I think the Beanpot is an unbelievable tournament. All four teams are great teams and every year for the last 10 years or so it has been a battle every game, no matter which team you’re playing.”

Down 2-1 in the final frame, an unfamiliar spot for BC, sophomore Makenna Newkirk and freshman Caitrin Lonergan reversed the Terriers’ one goal advantage to lift the defending champion Eagles to the Beanpot final.

With 7:49 gone in the third, junior Kenzie Kent fed Newkirk, who walked off the half wall and fired a wrist shot that rang off the crossbar and in for the tying power play goal.

“I think we were doing a great job with the power play controlling the puck,” Newkirk said. “Kenzie Kent made a great play, held it for an extra second, and froze the defenseman. We had great net front presence and a lane just opened to the net so I shot it in the house.”

BU responded well after allowing the goal but was unable to regain the lead. Then, with less than three minutes remaining, junior Megan Keller’s shot was blocked down, but, in the words of BU head coach Brian Durocher, the puck was “put on a tee” for Lonergan and she drove it right down the middle for the game winner.

“You have to compliment Boston College, they did a good job in the third period when they had to put pressure on,” Durocher said. “We might have been back on our heels just a little. I think people were trying, they were working, they were doing the right things We finish off the last 30 seconds of that PK it might have been a different game.

BC struck first just 1:17 into the contest when Newkirk finished a 2-on-1 rush with Lonergan. Even after finding themselves in an early hole, the Terriers calmed a bit and slowly swung momentum in their favor.

“I thought the first period we tried to do too much,” Durocher said. “There were too many soft, throw it in the middle passes. After that we did a lot of indirect stuff that time after time got us out of harms way and created offense and created a big second period.”

Junior Nina Rodgers was the beneficiary of a rebound goal after shots from senior Sarah Steele and sophomore Sammy Davis were turned away. Rodgers had the puck bounce right to her tape at the top of the crease and buried the power play goal before BC junior goaltender Katie Burt could slide across.

“We were shooting the puck well and we were getting shots through,” Rodgers said. “I got the rebound and had an empty net and luckily just put it away.”

It only took two minutes before BU would gain the lead on another power play. Junior Victoria Bach’s shot was stopped by Burt, and with graduate student Mary Parker jamming at the loose puck, it came free for a tap in by senior Maddie Elia. BU carried a 2-1 lead into the third period but failed to bring that same momentum from the second.

“I told them going into the third that hockey is a funny game,” Durocher said. “The third period is not a guarantee just like the second unless you make it that way. BC turned the tables a little bit in that third period.”

For BU, an unfortunate streak of Beanpot semifinal losses continued. The Terriers dropped their first game for the fifth straight year, the last win a 5-2 defeat of Harvard in 2012, and will have to wait another year for a chance at the school’s first championship as a varsity program.

“We’ve been the best team in this tournament, we’ve probably been the worst team in this tournament and we’ve been somewhere in the middle,” Durocher said. “We just can’t seem to get it done. The couple times we’ve been in the finals we didn’t get it done and we’ve ended up losing in the semifinals in some great hockey games.”

BC will meet Northeastern, the second semifinal winner, in the Beanpot final as the Eagles look to repeat as champions. BU and Harvard will play in the consolation on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, with the championship game set to follow at 7:30 p.m.

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