By: Jarett Leonard
In a back-and-forth, high scoring affair that contained just as many fortunate bounces as skilled finishes, the Boston University and Harvard women’s hockey teams battled to a 6-6 tie in the Beanpot consolation game.
But the result was no consolation for the Terriers, who surrendered five leads over the course of 60 minutes and allowed the tying goal with just over a minute left on the clock.
“It was a bit of an old school hockey game,” BU coach Brian Durocher said. “It was just one of those nights where there was a lot of good offensive play, some funny bounces and some beautiful shots and that led to a high scoring game.”
BU opened the scoring midway through the first period as senior Maddie Elia raced down the left wing and stickhandled her way to the front of the net. Her backhand shot was stopped by Larcom, but junior Nina Rodgers was there to bury the rebound and give the Terriers a 1-0 lead.
It would not last long, though, as Harvard tied it about three minutes later. Just nine seconds after sophomore Connor Galway was whistled for interference, junior Lexie Laing slipped a pass across the crease to the tape of classmate Haley Mullins, who tapped it in to even the score.
BU would regain the lead less than five minutes into the middle period. Following a chance for Rodgers in the high slot that was turned away, she regained the puck and threw it toward the net, where Elia deflected it in.
But once again, the lead did not hold, as two costly mistakes allowed Harvard to reverse BU’s one goal edge. After freshman Abby Cook failed to clear the puck, Mullins snapped one over the head of BU junior goaltender Erin O’Neil and in to tie it at two goals apiece.
“I think we probably mishandled a couple pucks that were within our ability to deal with,” Durocher said. “You give credit to them for most of those things but we might have added to it by mishandling a puck or making a less than perfect decision.”
Four mintues later, BU’s troubles continued when junior Chelsea Ziadie flipped one in from center, and as O’Neil attempted to move it quickly, it came of the heal of her stick and slipped over the line.
“I think Erin saw a couple BU kids that were fanning out and late in the process made the decision that ‘I can get this up there quick,’ forgetting that she was right in the middle of the net,” Durocher said. “Pucks break off sticks sometimes, and it’s probably a little more vulnerable for a goalie who’s got that bigger paddle. You’ve got to really handle it, and it looked like it just clipped the heal and slid underneath.”
Later in the second, junior Victoria Bach tied the game again, skating out front, turning and firing the puck short side off the corner post and in to make it 3-3. Then early in the final frame, Elia pulled the puck off the boards and found junior Rebecca Leslie in front, who stickhandled to moved Harvard freshman goaltender Beth Larcom out of position and easily potted the go-ahead goal. For Elia, the helper marked her third point of the game and the 100th of her career.
“It’s pretty special, playing for such a good program like BU,” Elia said. “It’s a lot of my teammates helping me get better so I’m thankful for them.”
Once again, though, the lead was short lived, as senior Sydney Daniels blasted a slap shot from the slot just 10 seconds later to tie it at 4-4. The goal was her team-leading ninth of the year.
“I loved how our kids continued to compete the entire game,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “I’m really proud of our effort. There’s no question that this group of kids brings the best effort every time they put the jersey on.”
BU later got a bounce to go its way, as Mary Parker’s wrist shot was deflected, slowing it enough to cross up Larcom as the puck beat her five-hole to give the Terriers a 5-4 lead. But Harvard continued the theme of the game and tied it just over two minutes later, this time a tip-in from Laing to make it 5-5.
With six minutes left, Parker gave BU the lead for the second time in the third period, finishing a rebound after Bach’s long wrist shot was rejected. Harvard then pulled Larcom for the extra attacker and, fittingly, sophomore Kate Hallett tied the game with 1:01 on the clock.
The draw continued an impressive week for the Crimson, who barely fell to No. 5 St. Lawrence 2-1 on Friday before tying No. 3 Clarkson 2-2 on Saturday.
“I think our kids are fed up,” Stone said. “They’re tired of being in that position and they’re proud kids. They want to better than we are right now and our record doesn’t show the fight or the tenacity that our team has. They’ve been on the other side of it and they’re doing everything they can to get on the right side of it.”
Parker added a helper to her two tallies and has now recorded four goals and an assist against her former team this season. The graduate student spent three years with Harvard, tallying 91 points over 104 games and capturing the 2014 Beanpot title.
BU will now turn its attention to an important home-and-home series this weekend with the University of New Hampshire. The two teams are tied for fourth place in Hockey East with 20 points, and the top four teams will earn home-ice advantage in the first round of the conference tournament.
“I think moving forward, our team is just looking to build on the good things were doing and continue to put 60 hard minutes of BU hockey together,” Parker said. “I think if we do that moving forward, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”