Almost without exception, the Beanpot provides some of the highest level of hockey you’ll see throughout the entire season. In addition to the simple fact that all four teams badly want to win that trophy, the programs also will typically schedule off weekends or one-off games around the tournament’s pair of Tuesdays. That means the teams come into Tuesday with fresh legs and a jump in their step.
Both games on Tuesday night at Conte Forum were elite contests between hungry teams, but the Boston College vs. Northeastern matchup in the nightcap was truly great hockey. In the end, despite a valiant effort out of the Huskies, Boston College came away with the 5-2 win and earned a spot in next week’s Beanpot championship game.
Boston College Goal #1: 8:48 of the 1st period
Daryl Watts (Toni Ann Miano)
BC 1, NU 0
Both teams got off to a pretty quick start offensively, with the two teams combining for 15 shots over the opening half of the first period. Northeastern’s top line of Křížová-Sullivan-Brand did a pretty good job of matching the Watts-Lonergan-Corson line... at least briefly.
Eventually, though, those elite BC playmakers found their opportunities and put the Huskies in a hole early. Daryl Watts kicked things off on a breakaway thanks to a perfect feed through the neutral zone from Miano. This is a slick finish from Watts, who goes backhand to forehand and beating Brittany Bugalski to the far post and putting the Eagles up 1-0.
Boston College Goal #2: 15:06 of the 1st period
Daryl Watts (Caitrin Lonergan)
BC 2, NU 0
That top line once again got behind the Husky defense just a few minutes later to double the BC lead.
Caitrin Lonergan, who has been the thunder to Watts’ lightning all season, makes this whole play happen. Her chip out of the Northeastern end at speed is really something, and the poor Northeastern defender pinching in seems caught completely off guard at the speed of the play.
They jumps Watts and Lonergan to a two on one. Lonergan manages to settle the puck right when she needs to for the cross through the NU defender right to the tape of Watts, and poor Bulgalski bites hard on the first move. Watts places the puck into the net behind Bugalski almost apologetically, and BC’s got an early 2-0 lead.
Northeastern Goal #1: 4:19 of the 2nd period
Andrea Renner (Skylar Fontaine)
BC 2, NU 1
Things were looking pretty good for the Eagles through 20 minutes with the Huskies struggling to find an answer to BC’s top playmakers, but the Northeastern response in the second period was just terrific. The Huskies controlled play for the majority of the second frame and managed to battle all the way back for the tie.
The first Northeastern goal is no slick dash down the ice, but instead is created by continued offensive zone pressure and an intercepted clearing attempt at the blue line. One pass across finds Andrea Renner with enough of a shooting lane to get the puck to Katie Burt, and unfortunately for the Eagles, a deflection off a BC stick sends the puck right through the five hole for the goal.
Northeastern Goal #2: 10:34 of the 2nd period
Shelby Herrington (Kasidy Anderson, Taytum Clairmont)
BC 2, NU 2
BC did not respond well to the Northeastern goal, and as a result the Huskies really kept up the pressure on the Eagles deep into the second period.
After peppering Katie Burt for a while, Northeastern finally gets a couple second chance opportunities with bodies in front of the net. Burt can’t corral the point-blank shot from Kasidy Anderson, and from there it’s just a free for all. The puck trickles to the far side of the net and Burt just can’t get over in time before Shelby Herrington sticks home the tying goal.
Boston College Goal #3 (GWG): 13:06 of the 2nd period
Makenna Newkirk (Kenzie Kent, Maegan Beres)
BC 3, NU 2
Suddenly BC finds itself in a tie game after pulling out to a multi-goal lead. And despite Makenna Newkirk retaking the lead for BC a few minutes later, it was really the Huskies who responded with the better shift after tying the game at two.
But BC’s success all season has been built on its game-changing, quick-strike ability, and not just from the Watts/Lonergan combination. Makenna Newkirk really puts the team on her back here to change the flow of this game, which was a good thing because Northeastern was knocking on the door and it almost felt like the Eagles should have taken a timeout.
But all it took was a turnover in the neutral zone to put that lethal BC attack back on display. Newkirk springs in with Kent on the two on one and the two execute a give and go back to Newkirk. Makenna then gathers the puck in with her head up, rather than just firing blindly at the net, and looks the puck beautifully through the opening above Bugalski’s right pad to put BC back on top.
Boston College Goal #4: 14:43 of the 3rd period
Makenna Newkirk (Kenzie Kent, Serena Sommerfield)
BC 4, NU 2
But once again, it was the Huskies who responded with the better shifts. Northeastern actually managed to get the puck behind Burt later in the second period, but a goaltender interference call on the play negated the goal and kept the Eagles ahead. The Huskies continued to put the pressure on early in the third period, but BC was able to find the crucial insurance goal to put the game on ice.
It actually started the shift before this goal, where the energy line of Little-Connolly-Belinskas really started to slow the Northeastern momentum. They were able to make the Huskies work in their own end for a shift before the Eagles got the line change to put Newkirk & Co. back onto the ice.
So much credit to go around on this goal for BC. After the great shift from the third line, Sommerfield puts in a clever shot-pass through to Kenzie Kent out front. Kenzie can’t redirect the puck on Bugalski, but the bounce off the boards comes back to Kent who throws the puck right back into the danger area in front of Bugalski. She actually finds the stick of Newkirk on the pass, but the puck bounces on Newkirk and she’s unable to get the shot off. It doesn’t matter though, as she gathers it in and turns on Bugalski below the faceoff dot and rifles the best shot of the night for either team into the top corner for the goal that allows the BC fans in attendance to finally exhale just a bit.
Boston College Goal #5 (ENG, HT): 18:51 of the 3rd period
Makenna Newkirk (Toni Ann Miano)
BC 5, NU 2 — FINAL
It wasn’t quite over for BC after going up by 2, and a late penalty on the Eagles gave the Huskies a chance to pull Bugalski for a 6 on 4 to try and get a little closer. But the silver lining for BC on the penalty is that they are now free to fire away at the net without worrying about taking an icing call, and a chip at the puck from the red line by Newkirk slides all the way into the net to complete the natural hat trick and seal the win for BC.
It wasn’t BC’s most dominant performance of the year by any stretch of the imagination — and in fact the Huskies can probably claim to have controlled at least half the game based on their strong second period and start of the third, but the game played out as a microcosm of the Eagles’ season. BC has not gone out and dominated opponents territorially at all this season, but without three of their best defensemen, they’ve had to adjust the system to be successful, and they’ve done that by being lethal in transition and in creating turnovers.
Obviously that “system” is easy to execute when you have the talent that the Eagles do at forward, but Coach Crowley and Coach Kennedy deserve a ton of credit for BC’s success so far this season.
With the win, BC has now put itself in position to claim its second trophy of the year next Tuesday against Boston University, who won the first semifinal of the afternoon against Harvard. But before they get there, the Eagles will see New Hampshire come to town on Friday afternoon for the between-Beanpot league matchup, and with UNH knocking on the door of the top 10 of the Pairwise, BC is going to need to bring the same effort they had on Tuesday to extend the winning streak.