By Max Wolpoff
BU News Service
Chaos surrounded senior goaltender Victoria Hanson. Boston University was three minutes from overtime, tied at 2 with Boston College in the semifinals of the 39th annual Women’s Beanpot. Then the Eagles hit pay dirt.
Freshman Caitrin Lonergan scored her 10th goal of the season to give BC the edge over their Commonwealth Avenue rivals. Their 3-2 win means the Eagles will play in the finals of the Beanpot for the fourth consecutive year.
“Everybody left everything they had on the ice. It’s unfortunate that, whatever it is, the demons and the Kryptonite that is this Beanpot for the Boston University team continued tonight against a very, very good team,” BU head coach Brian Durocher said.
BU has not won the tournament since 1981, when the program took home the championship as a club team.
“That team over there is a great team,” Eagle head coach Katie Crowley said. “They have had their ups and downs this season, but they are a very, very good hockey team.”
BU’s loss puts the Terriers’ overall record at 13-10-5, while the win brings the sixth-ranked Eagles to 20-3-4 on the year. Despite this being a game between two Hockey East teams, the result will not count toward the conference standings.
Makenna Newkirk got the tournament started early, squeezing a shot through Hanson’s arm and body to find the cage just over a minute into the first frame. Her 11th goal of the year put BC up for the remainder of an otherwise uneventful first period.
The Terriers’ fortunes started to turn in the middle frame. A checking penalty on Erin Connolly sent BU to its second power play. Junior Nina Rodgers came close to tying the game early on in the advantage, then capitalized a few seconds later on a rebound chance.
“We were just moving the puck well and getting shots through,” Rodgers said. “I got the rebound and had an empty net.”
Sarah Steele sent the shot in on goal, registering her seventh assist of this season and the 31st in her 142-game career. Sophomore Sammy Davis managed to tip the initial shot, giving her an assist for her 20th point this season.
Twenty seconds later, Kristyn Capizzano slashed a Terrier to give BU yet another special teams chance. With two seconds left on the power play, senior Maddie Elia potted another rebound for her eighth goal of the season. She now sits three points shy of 100 for her Terrier career. The goal was reviewed, but would ultimately stand.
BU ended the second period with 15 shots to BC’s five. However, the script flipped for the third, with the Eagles getting 12 and BU managing four.
“They came up with some blocks, and we might have been back on our heels just a little,” Durocher said. “If we finish off the last thirty seconds of that penalty kill [on the power play during which BC tied the game at 2], it might have been a different game.”
Senior co-captain Alexis Crossley bailed out Hanson early in the third, blocking an Andie Anastos shot while her goaltender was on the other side of the crease and trying to move over. She could not help when, seconds later, Newkirk went bar-down over Hanson’s shoulder for her second goal of the game, tying it up at two.
“Kenzie Kent made a great play. She kind of froze the BU defenseman there,” Newkirk said. “We had great net-front presence and a lane just opened to the net, so I shot it in the house.”
Lonergan, a native of Roslindale, Massachusetts, said she attended every Beanpot growing up. “Being able to go to the finals and actually have a chance to hold the trophy is even more exciting,” she said.
Eagle netminder Katie Burt stood tall after allowing the Elia goal. She ended the night with 25 saves and her 83rd career win, tying her for 10th on the NCAA career wins list.
“The only time that it enters my mind is when I scroll through Twitter and see that Lizz [Summers, the BC sports information director] posted something,” she said. “It is a great record, but whatever.”
Rebecca Leslie slotted in on the top line with Victoria Bach and Mary Parker to start the game. After a few shifts, freshman Natasza Tarnowski earned the ability to rotate shifts on that left-wing side.
“[Tarnowski] just had a couple great shifts right out of the gate, and sometimes you have to go with the hot player, the person that seems to have their legs and the person that’s making things happen,” Durocher said.
Durocher had few answers for his team’s struggles in the tournament. His club has not reached the finals since 2012, a 4-3 overtime loss to Northeastern.
“We just cannot seem to get it done,” he said. “I don’t think this team showed any signs of it being a mental problem, being an issue. It’s just one of those things where they ended up with one goal more than us.”
The Terriers will next play in the consolation game against Harvard. The matchup is set to get underway at 4:30 p.m. at Matthews Arena next Tuesday, Feb. 7.