Sophomore forward Mia Langlois hits the pipe a minute and a half into the first period of the women’s Beanpot championship. Northeastern won the matchup 2-1 in overtime.
Sophomore forward Mia Langlois hits the pipe a minute and a half into the first period of the women’s Beanpot championship. Northeastern won the matchup 2-1 in overtime.
Harriet Rovniak

Irving’s MVP night launches Huskies to historic Beanpot victory at TD Garden

Beanpot. The word can send Boston’s college students into a flurry, arguing over whose school is superior and which hockey team is the best. But on Tuesday it took on a whole new meaning when women’s hockey took center stage in Boston for the first time in history.

After 44 years rotating between arenas at the four participating schools — Northeastern University, Boston University, Boston College and Harvard University — the 45th women’s Beanpot championship headed to TD Garden, drawing over 10,000 fans for an electric, nail-biting, momentous game.

Tied after 60 minutes of regulation, the game was decided in a 3-on-3 sudden death overtime, and the Huskies came out victorious 2-1 in their second Beanpot championship win in a row.

“It was awesome winning it last year, but it’s a little bit more rewarding this year when you’re battling a bunch of adversity throughout the season, so just being able to pull together and get this win was huge,” said junior forward Skylar Irving.

A semifinal shutout (Northeastern) and a dramatic shootout (BU) lifted the Huskies and Terriers to the championship game, and TD Garden was in for a dogfight.

Gwyneth Philips extends her glove to make a save. The netminder tallied 23 saves in the Beanpot championship. (Harriet Rovniak)

In a match fraught with neutral zone turnovers and offensive struggles, both teams stayed determined, playing to the buzzer.

With so much excitement in the air, it was a chippier game than Northeastern usually plays. The Huskies racked up four penalties across the first two periods, compared to BU’s two, including a rare goalie penalty.

However, Northeastern limited the Terriers’ power play unit to no more than two shots on goal in each penalty, hoisting their second-ranked penalty kill (.925) with pride.

Northeastern’s first penalty came just three minutes into the game with an interference call against senior forward Molly Griffin, and while the Terriers couldn’t score, they gained the offensive edge for the opening minutes of the matchup. 

BU accumulated a couple high-danger chances but whiffed on the open backdoor. Meanwhile, the Huskies were unable to get a single shot on goal until six minutes into the game. 

Although the first period was slow and relatively even, with Northeastern leading shots on goal at 8-7 after the first 20 minutes, BU showed up shorthanded. At the end of the period, the Huskies gained their first power play of the night, but BU held the zone for the first 30 seconds, earning chances of their own before the Huskies turned it back around.

When the second period started, Northeastern made a flurry for the net, dominating the opening minutes of the frame.

BU then changed the momentum, forcing a turnover in their offensive zone and drawing a penalty against the Huskies but missing the open net once again. 

The teams traded chances back and forth, with BU leading possession, but after the Huskies had to serve a roughing penalty for fifth-year goaltender Gwyneth Philips with 4:31 left in the second period, they stole back control of the game. 

In the final minute of the frame, Northeastern junior defender Abbey Marohn flicked the puck to Irving along the boards. Irving cut in towards the center and sniped a shot up high past BU junior goaltender Callie Shanahan, giving Northeastern the 1-0 lead. 

“It gave us a good boost, it was huge,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint. “When you score in the last minute of the period, it can be deflating for the other team … and then we came out and we were clicking in the beginning of the third.” 

When the puck dropped in the third period, it looked like it was Northeastern’s game. The Huskies again possessed through the beginning of the frame, pouring shot after shot on Shanahan. While neither team had a strong forecheck, the Huskies fell into a rhythm of steady passes and strong stickwork, while BU couldn’t seem to keep their footing on the ice. 

With two-and-a-half minutes to go, the Terriers opted for the empty net — and it paid off. With the 6-on-5 advantage, BU sophomore forward Sydney Healey passed circle to circle to senior forward Catherine Foulem, and Foulem dished the puck into the far low corner to tie the game 1-1 with just 58 seconds remaining. 

Neither team could score in those final seconds of regulation, so, for the second time this season, the Huskies and the Terriers headed to overtime. 

The battle didn’t last long. Northeastern wasted no time, gaining immediate possession and scoring just 27 seconds into the additional period.

Off a pass from graduate student forward and captain Megan Carter, fifth-year forward Katy Knoll skated the puck through the neutral zone while Irving raced past BU’s defenders in the slot. One-on-one with Shanahan, Irving went five-hole to win the game for Northeastern 2-1.

“It’s honestly truly amazing just it being here at [TD] Garden,” Irving said. “First off, it’s historic that we were able to play here and all the hard work that has gone into us being able to play at the Garden, so I just think it’s an extra special moment and it’s something I’m gonna definitely treasure for the rest of my life.” 

For the second year in a row, 19th all-time and the first time in a major arena, Northeastern won the Beanpot title, earning another year of glory over the city of Boston. Northeastern fifth-year goaltender Gwyneth Philips was granted the Bertagna Award for the second straight time as the tournament’s top netminder, with her stellar kick-saves and grabs that kept BU out of the back of the net. And the Most Valuable Player designation had no contest — for scoring both of Northeastern’s goals in the championship game, her sixth and seventh of the season, Irving was named top dog of the competition.

Skylar Irving celebrates with the DogHouse after scoring a goal. The crowd chanted “historic” after Irving brought home the win for Northeastern with a goal in overtime. (Harriet Rovniak)

“I want them to remember how special this moment was and how hard people worked to make this happen,” Flint said. “I often talk to them about past players, alumni, what they went through to get the program to where it is now and afford our women the opportunities that they have today, so those are things that I think are really important takeaways from an event like this.”

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