By: Akshai Wadhwani February 13, 2018
CHESNUT HILL, Mass. — The first meeting between Eagles and Terriers this season resulted in a seven-goal thriller. The second ended in an equally entertaining overtime tie. The third became a seesaw of a game, which eventually saw BC pull ahead for the win.
The fourth installment of this year’s BU-BC rivalry will go down in history as a timeless classic.
On a chilly Tuesday evening in Chestnut Hill, the Boston University women’s ice hockey team clashed with hosts Boston College in the championship game of the 40th annual Women’s Beanpot contest. Though obviously familiar foes, the two teams were facing each other for the first time in almost three months. BC had won two of the previous three tilts, both at Walter Brown Arena. The Terriers, however, arrived at Conte Forum having defeated the Eagles a total of seven times in the Beanpot — more than either of the other two teams in the tournament.
BU was in search of their first ever Beanpot title as a varsity program, having previously won the tournament once as a club team back in 1981. BC was seeking the Beanpot trophy for the third consecutive year, having beaten Northeastern, 2-1, in last year’s contest and 7-0 in 2016.
With nearly five minutes remaining in overtime and the game deadlocked at 3, the Eagles added another chapter to Beanpot history.
On the power play for another 30 seconds and fresh off of a timeout, BC forward Caitrin Lonergan triumphed in the faceoff over BU’s Compher. In typical power play fashion, the Eagles began circulating the puck across the offensive zone.
Finally, with less than 10 seconds remaining on Abbey Stanley’s penalty, BC’s Tori Ann Miano and Makenna Newkirk exchanged a pair of one-two passes, which left the former with space in between the two face-off dots. The Terrier defenders appeared to be anticipating a pass back out wide; instead, Miano drifted forward a few steps and then, as BU’s Natasza Tarnowski rushed to challenge her, fired a wrist shot at midrange height that beat freshman net minder Corrine Schroeder to her right-hand side, ending the overtime period and giving BC the 4-3 sudden-death victory.
The excitement began to build long before the game started, with fans on both sides making their voices heard loud and clear while the BC and BU pep bands competed to out-do each other from opposite ends of the arena. Rhett the Terrier and Baldwin the Eagle swaggered across the rink during warmups; the carpets were rolled out; the photos were taken, the traditional procedures completed; the national anthem was played. Finally, the starting lines took their positions on the ice, poised for combat.
The game that followed was an explosion of unbridled passion, intensity, and competition.
Fans were treated to high-value entertainment right from the get-go, as both teams notched several shots in the opening minutes. With pressure at both ends, the first goal of the tilt was found after less than three minutes; BC’s usual suspect, Daryl Watts, received the puck from Miano before firing a shot that beat Schroeder five-hole to give the Beanpot hosts the 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles found net again ten minutes later—this time via a lesser known source. An excellent cross-ice pass from Watts was met on the right side of the Terrier goal by the stick of one Molly Slowe, the junior out of Medfield, Mass. The strike was just her second goal of the season and her first recorded point since November 4.
Throughout the first period, BU struggled to cope with the high pressure employed by BC’s defense; the Eagles would frequently commit three or four players beyond the Terriers’ neutral zone, causing panic on the back line and forcing several dangerous turnovers. The scarlet and white still managed a number of additional opportunities, forcing a total of 10 first-period saves from BC goaltender Katie Burt. Even so, by the end of the opening frame the Eagles looked to be well in control.
And then, in the second stanza, the Terriers sprang to life.
First, at 3:15 into the frame, Victoria Bach halved the deficit with her 100th career goal as a Terrier. Bach took a short pass from Reagan Rust, then singlehandedly skated her way into BC’s half from the right wing, cut inside, faced up two Eagle defenders and launched a left-handed effort past Burt to put BU on the board. As well as pushing her team back into the game, the Ontario native also broke yet another program milestone: She overtook former Terrier Jenn Wakefield to become BU’s new record-holder for points in a season, marking her 58th on the year.
Then, 45 seconds later, the contest was suddenly all square. As the Terriers circled the puck around the offensive zone on a power play, Stanley’s pass made its way to Rust near the left faceoff dot. The junior unleashed a slap shot from way downtown that looked to have less power on it than she would have liked; however, the attempt still straightlined through a host of bodies in front of net, and somehow squirmed between Burt’s legs and over the goal line — an incredibly rare slipup from the veteran netminder.
To put the icing on the cake, the Terriers then took the lead at 8:16 in the second through co-captain Rebecca Leslie. BU’s Breanna Scarpaci launched Bach down the right wing with a nice pass from her own half; Bach raced away, head up, and picked out Leslie with an inch-perfect cross-ice pass to the left circle. Leslie took one touch for control, then rocketed the puck home to complete a glorious comeback from the scarlet and white.
The game began lagging a little from that point, as both teams entered somewhat of a recovery period after the first eight or nine minutes of blazing, end-to-end play. Later on, BC began to up the pace again, notching 15 shot attempts after Leslie’s goal; the Terriers required 8 blocks and five saves from Schroeder to keep their lead intact through the middle stanza.
The minutes passed lethargically for BU in the third period, as they spent more time falling back and withstanding BC’s attacks than pushing for an insurance goal. On occasions where the Terriers did make their way forward, they were denied extension of their lead by the brick wall of Burt in net. The senior made a pair of top-drawer stops early on in the period off close range shots from Bach and Leslie, as well as several glove saves up high as the frame progressed.
BU continued to play in park-the-bus mode, while BC continued to batter them in the offensive zone with shot after shot. And for 75 percent of the third period, the former strategy seemed to be holding the edge.
Then, with less than five minutes separating the Terriers from their first ever Beanpot title, Daryl Watts crashed the impending party.
The Eagles’ Slowe was once more involved on offense, as she fed the puck to Watts from the right wing. The freshman charged at BU’s Abby Cook, who backed off in anticipation of a shot, which eventually did come — and flew past both Cook and a hapless Schroeder to nestle in the roof of the net. Watts was instantly swarmed, pulled down, and dogpiled by her teammates as she whizzed off to celebrate her NCAA-leading 39th goal of the season. Meanwhile, the Terriers on ice were left to stew in the tattered remains of their three-goal comeback.
BU displayed admirable resolve after such a vehement slap in the face, and in fact nearly won the game at 18:40. A deflected pass dropped at the feet of center Jesse Compher, who took a wild swing and saw her point-blank effort chest-saved by Burt; the Eagle goalie then jumped on and smothered the rebound, leaving Compher visibly frustrated.
One minute and 20 seconds later, the final buzzer signaled overtime for the second time this season in a BU-BC contest. Both teams headed to their respective locker rooms to prepare for potentially another 20 minutes of battle.
The Terriers came out of the third interval the dominant side, controlling the puck in the hosts’ half for much of the first five minutes. BC came up with a massive penalty kill from 3:31 to 5:31, surviving six shots from BU via five saves from Burt and an incredible sliding block from Miano to deny Rust.
From there on, the period steadily tilted to become more even, as the Eagles fought back and pushed into the Terriers’ defensive zone. By the 10-minute mark, BC had turned the tables and maintained the puck at BU’s end, continuing to pepper the Terrier goal with shots from all angles.
At 13:07, BU’s Stanley was slapped with two minutes for tripping. To begin the resulting powerplay, the Eagles offered six shots in a row and forced two outstretched saves from Schroeder. The second saw the BU goalie hold the puck, and prior to the ensuing faceoff, BC head coach Katie Crowley called a timeout.
20 seconds later, the Terriers met their fate.
Helmets, gloves and sticks were instantly thrown up in the air as the entire Eagles squad engulfed their game-winning goal scorer. BU’s players stared down at the ice beneath their feet, apparently not quite sure of what had just hit them. Schroeder crouched, frozen, in a save-like position —seemingly unwilling to accept that the puck had gotten past her — and remained rigidly still even as her teammates skated out to comfort her.
The Terriers headed to the locker rooms just after the Beanpot trophy arrived to be hoisted by BC for the third year running.
Final shot count finished 38-34 in favor of BU. Sin bins on both sides were heavily populated, with six penalties on the night for the Eagles and four for the Terriers. Bach led all players with 10 shots, followed by Compher with seven and then Leslie and BC’s Miano tied with six each. Schroeder made an even 30 saves, while her counterpart Burt made 35 — marking the latter’s third 30-save game of the season against BU.
The post-game press conference saw all parties showing a great deal of respect toward each other, as well as an appreciation for the Beanpot tournament as an event.
“I thought that was a phenomenal hockey game…that BU team played really well,” BC’s Crowley commented. “It’s special for us to be at home and to be able to win the 40th [Beanpot].”
Daryl Watts added, “It’s such a special tournament, and it’s really exciting to win it.”
BU Head Coach Brian Durocher displayed his lengthy experience and stalwart humility with a solemn yet strikingly fond take on the evening’s contest.
“Everybody got their money’s worth with a great classic,” Durocher said. “I tip my cap to Boston College for getting it done.”
So, the Terriers will have to wait until next year for another opportunity to make history with their first-ever Beanpot championship. Now, the focus will turn to their last two games of the regular season: A home-on-home series against New Hampshire.
Next Up: The Terriers will square off with New Hampshire in a home-on-home series this upcoming Saturday and Sunday to close out their regular season campaign. Puck drop from Durham, N.H. will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while puck drop from Walter Brown Arena on Sunday will be at 3 p.m.