Boston College shocks Northeastern 3-1 in semifinals of Women’s 43rd Beanpot


Kayla Shiao

After a year hiatus, the 43rd Women’s Beanpot took place in Matthews Arena.

Eli Curwin, news staff

The 3-1 upset took place Tuesday between the No. 3 Huskies and the No. 17 Boston College Eagles. Despite doubling the Eagles’ shots on goal 50-25, two goals from BC junior defenseman Alexie Guay and an empty net goal late in the third period were enough to deny the Huskies a chance at back-to-back titles. Northeastern’s failure to find the back of the net was the story of the game for the top ranked Huskies. Near perfect play for Boston College senior goalie Abigail Levy mitigated an aggressive Huskies offense, as she saved 49 out of 50 shots.

“We [need to] find ways to put the puck in the net,” said Huskies head coach Dave Flint, while pensively looking down at the box score of the game. “Goals aren’t coming easily right now for us.”  

After a year hiatus, the 43rd Women’s Beanpot started at Matthews Arena Feb. 1. The annual tournament sets four Massachusetts schools — Northeastern University, Harvard University, Boston University and Boston College — against each other in a highly anticipated, rivalry filled tradition.

This was the season’s fourth matchup between the Eagles and the Huskies, with the Huskies winning the three previous matchups with a combined score of 12-2. Two of those previous games were shutouts; none of the games were close. 

As fans pushed their way into Matthews Arena, few thought that the Eagles had a chance. However, as the 2022 Winter Olympics start in Beijing, Northeastern was without headliner Alina Mueller. The absence of the celebrated center has hurt the Huskies all season, as all four of their losses have come without her in the lineup. While these absences have been scattered throughout the season, and for various reasons, Mueller helped the Huskies defeat BC the last time they played. In Northeastern’s previous matchup against Boston College, a 5-0 win for the Huskies, Mueller had two goals and an assist.

With a definitive Harvard win earlier in the day against Boston University, BC will go on to play the Crimson next week. 

Pom poms and posters lined the DogHouse Tuesday and excitement for the matchup could be seen throughout the highly attended arena. 

“Everyone was fired up. That was a great atmosphere. That was the most fans we’ve had in the building in a while, and I wish we gave them a little better outcome,” Flint said. 

With BC winning the opening faceoff, Northeastern’s hawkish defense swarmed from the start. Patient passes and quick transitions into offense made way for many Huskies shots on goal. Steals deep in BC’s zone led to ideal opportunities for the Huskies, but Levy was impermeable in goal. Saving 24 shots throughout the period, her strong play in the first would continue throughout the game. 

Northeastern’s center ice pressure forced many BC turnovers, causing the Eagles to rush passes and lose the puck. Northeastern junior forward Katy Knoll and junior defenseman Megan Carter made the Huskies’ zone difficult to break. Offensive play from Huskies freshman forward Skylar Irving and graduate student defenseman Skylar Fontaine set the tone throughout the first period for the Huskies, accumulating nine shots combined. 

However, the Huskies’ defense faltered midway through the first period. Guay weaved from the right side and found the back of the net. 

Following the goal, Northeastern turned their offensive efforts up to 11, shooting eight consecutive shots in three minutes. Despite their attempts, Levy remained steady, saving each shot. Levy has been incredible throughout the entire season, with a save percentage of .938 while facing 913 goals — nearly 150 more than any other goalie. Tuesday night was no different, as the Huskies remained scoreless throughout the first period, despite outshooting the Eagles 24-5. 

The second period continued with more brilliant play from Levy, and even stronger support from her skaters. The Eagles’ offense and defense both played with an aggressiveness that was not present in the first period. While the Huskies continued to muster shots and get deep in the zone, they forced fewer turnovers and took fewer shots. 

With pressure mounting as the period went on, it seemed that the Huskies began to adopt a quantity over quality mindset when it came to their shooting. This tunnel vision hindered their ability to maintain control of the puck, causing multiple BC fast break attempts. Fortunately, Northeastern’s netminder, graduate student Aerin Frankel, is also one of the best goalies in the NCAA. Through diving saves and difficult blocks, Frankel kept the Huskies competitive in the second period.

One aspect of the Huskies’ success this season that was not seen throughout the first two periods was their play with an extra skater. Northeastern has the most power play goals of any NCAA team (28) and the highest power-play percentage in Hockey East (.283). With no penalties called in the first two periods, their power play success was a nonfactor. However, this would change in the third period. 

With the score 1-0 heading into the third period, Northeastern continued to look for the equalizer. Four minutes into the period, a BC holding penalty would give Northeastern an advantage for the first time in the game. A tight 1-2-1 strategy in front of the crease prevented Northeastern from scoring. The Eagles killed the penalty as the DogHouse’s optimistic chants quieted. 

Following a blocked shot and a shot off the pipe, Northeastern’s chances looked grim. A steal at center ice by junior forward Peyton Anderson created a golden opportunity for the Huskies to score. She carried the puck down the left side of the ice, with two defenders in her way. Anderson could have tried to score herself, but instead she paused, waiting for senior forward Chloé Aurard to fly up the ice. Anderson miraculously flicked the puck through both defenders’ sticks, setting Aurard up for the equalizer. A nifty deke from Aurard lit the lamp, tying the game — and cheers from the student section engulfed Matthews.

Just 12 seconds later, a hit from behind penalty on Huskies graduate student forward Tessa Ward gave BC a chance at a power play. While Northeastern plays consistently well when down a skater, with a penalty kill percentage of 90.8, the Eagles would take advantage with a screen shot goal from Guay, leading to her first two-goal game of the season. The cheers that had engulfed Matthews moments ago came to a simmer. 

The 2-1 lead for the Eagles came into jeopardy when the Huskies gained a 5-3 advantage after two BC penalties. Regardless, great play from Levy prevented the Huskies from capitalizing. After sacrificing their goalie for an extra skater, an empty net goal from center ice was the nail in the coffin for the Huskies. 

The scattered BC fans erupted in joy as their road marching band played in elation. The music ominously echoed throughout Matthews for the Northeastern faithful, who silently observed, in disbelief or disappointment. 

The victory marked the 350 win for Boston College head coach Katie Crowley, whose team sprayed her with water bottles in celebration. The Eagles defeated New Hampshire 5-3 on Friday and will go on to play Boston University at home on Saturday. Then, Boston College will play in the Beanpot Championship next Tuesday against Harvard. 

“That’s the best game we’ve played in a while. Sometimes, when you outplay the other team and you deserve to win, you don’t win,” Flint said.

The Beanpot semifinals was the second consecutive loss for Northeastern, who have now scored only two goals in 82 shots. The Huskies played Merrimack Friday, and snapped their two-game losing streak in a 5-0 shutout victory. Next, the Huskies will play Boston College on Tuesday at 4:00 pm in the Beanpot consolation game at Matthews.