BOSTON — Boston College women’s hockey repeated history Tuesday night, winning 2-1 against Northeastern in the Beanpot Final. It is the second time the Eagles (21-3-5, 16-2-3 Hockey East) have hoisted up the famous Boston trophy in as many years, as BC defeated the Huskies (18-10-3, 13-7-2) 7-0 last season.
Despite solid chances from both teams, the first period ended in a chippy stalemate. Megan Keller showed up big time for the Eagles, offering good attempts in front of the goal. At one point, she snuck between two Northeastern defensemen in a move that was reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s toe stand. She finished it off with a shot, but could not get it past Brittany Bugalski. Though the game began with aggression, it was augmented in the middle of the period after a perceived slight from the referees for BC. After slashing in the Eagles’ defensive zone knocked over Katie Burt, BC’s coaches expected penalties for Northeastern, and yelled when play continued. Several players upped the ante and exchanged blows for the rest of the period. Caitrin Lonergan and NU’s Heather Mottau capped it off when the horn sounded, punching each other as players began trickling off the ice. The two had to be broken up by fellow players and the referees. The zebras issued a penalty after the fact for the two for hitting after the whistle.
Down to 4-on-4, Keller continued her stellar play in the second period, offering up more shots for the Eagles and coming in clutch on defense. Toward the end of the period, Burt faced a staredown from a Husky, and Keller streaked down the ice in time to block the shot. Keller had eight blocks total in the game, three more than her previous high, which took place during the opening game of the Beanpot Tournament against Boston University.
When the Eagles emerged from the tunnel for the third period, the tension was thick in the air. All 800-plus fans were on their feet as music blared through Matthews Arena. Though the game was generally quick—the first 20 minutes flew by with little interruption—the last 20 seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Both teams moved fast up and down the ice, taking their chances on each other. The Huskies took advantage of the speed, notching the first goal of the contest only one minute into the third period. Kasidy Anderson streaked through the Northeastern defensive zone, evading the Eagles. As Keller gained on her, she laid out to strip the puck from her, but Anderson had a clear shot in the top shelf. The puck clanged off the post and into the back of the net as the crowd erupted. For a moment, the Huskies seemed untouchable, impenetrable to any BC shots—a first goal that late spelled trouble for the Eagles. But just for a moment.
Seven minutes later, lucky No. 7 Kristyn Capizzano shifted into overdrive. Capizzano had been playing an excellent game thus far, speeding past defensemen yet still taking time to focus her shot. Always the fastest on the ice, she finally got her due as she scorched up the ice like a Road Runner cartoon. Even with two Huskies on her right side blocking the goal, she angled herself out far enough to get a clear view of Bugalski. She launched the puck in a tiny space between Bugalski’s head and the pipe, and it whizzed past her ear and into the twine. Bugalski looked back at it as the puck passed by and hung her head. That hard-fought lead was now down the drain.
After the goal, the Eagles dominated the Northeastern defensive zone for a bit, with Serena Sommerfield offering good looks in front of the net. Four minutes after Capizzano’s mind-bending goal, South Boston native Erin Connolly was rewarded for her hustle. Following another penalty for Mottau for holding, the Eagles were on the power play for the second time on the night. Andie Anastos passed the puck up to Kenzie Kent, who was waiting behind the Huskies’ goal. The feed distracted Maddie Hartman, who lunged for Kent as she passed the puck to Connolly at the crease. From there, all Connolly had to do was poke it in, and the Eagles were back on top.
BC has been a comeback team recently, especially in its last three games. The Eagles came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie with the University of Connecticut in a four-goal effort, and returned to win against BU on Jan. 31 after a 2-1 lapse.
“[Northeastern] came out and scored first in that third period, but again, for the last couple of games we’ve been pretty good at coming from behind,” head coach Katie Crowley said.
The final minutes of the period did not wind down without drama, however. The puck found its way to the back of the Eagles’ net, but the referees waved it off, saying that play had ended before the puck went in. Immediately following the play, Burt and Anderson got into a scuffle, with the two both given penalties for roughing. Burt was served by Bridget McCarthy as she continued to protect the net. With one minute left, Northeastern tried to salvage the game by calling a timeout, but the Eagles managed to keep the puck away from their goal. Following the win, Connolly was named MVP of the tournament, and Bugalski was given the Bertagna Award, which is given to the best goaltender in the Beanpot.
Northeastern is stiff competition for BC—it is right behind the Eagles in the standings for Hockey East. The two teams will face each other again this Friday, Feb. 10, but this season is no longer just about conference rivals. Now that BC has won its second Beanpot in a row, and Trophy Season has begun, every Frozen Four frontrunner should be put on notice.
Featured Image by Josh Mentzer / Heights Staff