Beanpot First Round Recap: BC, BU advance to championship

Star power was on display at Conte Forum in the 40th Women’s Beanpot

It was an exciting night of action at Conte Forum for the first night of the 40th Women’s Beanpot. If you missed the best tournament in Boston, here’s what happened:

Boston University 3, Harvard 2

What if I told you Victoria Bach scored? Twice? in the opening six minutes?

At this point, you should not be even remotely surprised. Powered by two tallies from Bach and one from Jessie Compher, BU took a lead down to the wire and withstood an extra-skater attack by Harvard to hold on for a 3-2 final. The Terriers opened scoring 3:48 into the first period for Bach’s 33rd of the season, and then came right back with another at the 5:55 mark from. Rebecca Leslie assisted on both of Bach’s goals, her 17th multi-point game of the season.

Compher scored the game-winning goal on the power play for the Terriers, her eighth goal of the season and her sixth in eight games.

Brooke Jovanovich and Chelsea Ziadie both lit the lamp for the Crimson, and Beth Larcom made 29 saves for Harvard, but it was not enough to get past Brian Durocher and the Terriers. BU held off roughly a minute of six-on-five play at the end, nearly scoring two empty net goals along the way.

“It was a crazy game all the way to the end,” Durocher said. “I commend [Harvard] because they kept coming until the end.”

Indeed they did, with a few good looks on that extra-attacker sequence at the end of the game to nearly knot the score at three a piece.

As any team that deals with Victoria Bach now realizes that letting her get on the board is highly dangerous. Harvard head coach Katey Stone noted “You can’t spot somebody a hat trick and expect to come back.” Stone was pleased with her teams effort and thought they settled in well after two quick goals. She also complimented Larcom, saying she “wasn’t sure if she’d finish the game.”

The Crimson coach remarked on the state of her team as well, stating “We can’t rebuild over night.” Harvard has not appeared in a Beanpot final since 2015, and this team seems like a fary cry from the days of Julie Chu or even Sydney Daniels.

On the other side of the ice, Boston University is in the final for the first time since 2012, and now has a chance to win their first ever varisty Beanpot title (the Terriers took home the trophy in 1981 back when the program still held club status).

Boston College 5 (EN), Northeastern 2

The Eagles are going back to the championship thanks to two goals from Daryl Watts and a hat trick from junior captain Makenna Newkirk. Katie Burt made a whopping 36 saves on 38 shots to keep her team in this one, and BC secured their sixth consecutive championship berth.

Watts opened things up with a fantastic solo effort on a breakaway 8:48 into regulation. She tacked on another one on a two-on-one at 15:06 for her 36th of the year, as Caitrin Lonergan tallied her 37th assist of the season. With that goal Watts pulled back into the national goal lead which had been held by Victoria Bach at the conclusion of the BU Harvard game.

Northeastern was able to rally and tie the game at two, as Andrea Renner potted her fifth goal of the season and senior captain Shelby Herrington followed suit with her fourth on the year. The Eagles would not be silent, as Makenna Newkirk completed a natural hat trick to put BC on top for good.

“Despite the score I thought it was a good game. In the second and third period we outplayed them. The difference was they capitalized on chances and we didn’t capitalize,” Northeastern head coach Dave Flint said. He praised the Andrea Renner, Matti Hartman, Veronika Pettey line, calling them the best line on the team.

“I feel like what’s supposed to be our best line isn’t producing,” he followed up, obviously referring to the top line of Denisa Krizova, Tori Sullivan and McKenna Brand, each of whom had high hopes for this season.

If Flint’s press conference was anything, it was the polar opposite of BC head coach Katie Crowley’s presser. Herself, Watts and Newkirk were all smiling and ready to talk about the game and look ahead to next week.

Crowley said her team “came out with a little spunk and spark,” before things shifted to NU’s favor in the second period. “Overall it was a great team effort. We got ourselves in a final and that’s something to be proud of.”

Watts, despite being a native of Canada, was asked about being a freshman playing in the Beanpot, and said it was fun to play in the tournament especially with the number of Massachussets natives that play for Boston College. Newkirk was a bit more technical and spoke about the systems the coaches put in place, and how the team was able to rely on those systems and “trust the process” in that third period to pull back ahead.

Boston College and Boston University will face off at Conte Forum on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. for the Beanpot final. Northeastern and Harvard will square off in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.