February 13, 2014

Women's Journal: BC captures program's fifth Beanpot title

By Arielle Aronson

The BC women blanked Northeastern to win the program's fifth Beanpot title Tuesday. (Photos: Boston College Athletics)

There’s no doubt about it; it’s Boston College’s Beanpot this year, and five is a hot number in Chestnut Hill this February.

One night after the BC men’s team won its fifth consecutive Beanpot championship, the BC women took down two-time defending champion Northeastern via a 3-0 win to secure its fifth Beanpot title in program history.

The Beanpot trophy was especially sweet for the Eagles this year, who won it at their home rink and entered the game looking to get back on track after their 11-game undefeated streak came to an end with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut last Saturday.

“The game on Saturday I think caught the kids off guard a little bit,” said BC coach Katie Crowley (Salem, N.H.). “They realized that you have to play hard every game and you have to be able to finish our opportunities in every game. But I thought after that game, [Tuesday] night we came out strong and we held that for most of the game so I was happy with the way we rebounded.”

The Eagle seniors paved the road to victory, as senior forward Taylor Wasylk scored 16:02 into the first period to put BC up, 1-0, and classmates Meagan Mangene and Melissa Bizzari added some security when both scored power-play goals in the third period. Goaltender Corinne Boyles, a graduate student, stopped all 25 shots she faced to earn the shutout, her third in her last seven games.

“The shots that [Northeastern] had could have turned the game the other way and I thought she stood tall in net and did a great job for us,” Crowley said. “[Boyles] has been playing well as of late and that’s what you need when you’re going into the playoffs.”

Like the men’s team, the BC women consider the Beanpot as the opening event of trophy season, and if history is any indication, their Beanpot win could be a harbinger of more trophies to come. The last time the Eagles won the Beanpot (2011), they went on to win the Hockey East tournament and earned a Frozen Four berth.

BC looks primed to earn the top seed as far as the Hockey East tournament is concerned. The ladies currently sit in first place in the league standings with a five-point cushion over second-place Boston University and just four games remaining. But as the loss to UConn last weekend proves, the margin for error in Hockey East games is low.

Crowley said her team is fully aware it cannot let its focus wander, except, of course, when it comes to the Olympics. Three of the members of the US women’s Olympic hockey team have BC connections. Forward Kelli Stack and goaltender Molly Schaus both graduated in 2011, and forward Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) is taking a sabbatical between her sophomore and junior seasons to play in the Olympics. Crowley herself is a former Olympian and was a member of the only US women’s Olympic team to win gold (Nagano 1998).

So it is not surprising that, despite the late-night Beanpot finish Tuesday night, Crowley was up at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday to watch the USA/Canada game.

She said the Eagles have also been in touch with Carpenter, who FaceTimed with her BC teammates after Team USA’s first game last Saturday. Crowley said the call was a highlight of her team’s week.

“They’ve all at some point in their careers and their lives, are all striving to be at that level and for them to be able to talk to Carp is awesome,” Crowley said. “It’s just a great experience for the three of them over in the Olympics, but it’s also great for our kids to see what Alex is going through and to be able to support her as well.”

Player of the Week

Elaine Chuli, University of Connecticut

The sophomore goaltender turned in an outstanding weekend and earned first star commendations in both a 2-0 win over BC on Saturday and a 3-1 win over New Hampshire on Sunday. She stopped 82 of the 83 shots she faced last weekend, which is good for a .988 save percentage.

Game of the Week

Clarkson at Harvard, Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.

First place in the ECAC will be on the line when Clarkson (third in the league with 28 points) visits Harvard (first in the league with 30 points). The game could also be a good preview of NCAA tournament action, as Clarkson and Harvard are currently ranked No. 5 and No. 6 respectively in the nation.

Power Rankings

1. Boston College (Overall:  21-5-3, Hockey East: 14-2-1) – A hot UConn goaltender ruined BC’s 11-game unbeaten streak last Saturday, but a Beanpot championship is always a good way to cure any leftover weekend woes.

2. Harvard (Overall: 19-3-3, ECAC: 14-2-2) – The Crimson might have missed out on a possible Beanpot championship, but they made the most of the consolation game by topping BU, 3-2, in overtime.

3. Quinnipiac (Overall: 17-5-8, ECAC: 8-4-6) – The Bobcats came from behind to earn a 3-3 tie against Clarkson Friday night, but all good mojo from the win was lost the next night when they were shut out by St. Lawrence.

4. Northeastern (Overall: 14-13-2, Hockey East: 9-6-2) – The Huskies remain four points out of second place in the league, but they maintained their position with a win over Providence on Saturday.

5. Boston University (Overall: 19-10-1, Hockey East: 12-5-0) – Sophomore Sarah Lefort posted four goals and an assist in a 7-4 win over New Hampshire Saturday, and she factored into both of BU’s goals in its overtime loss to Harvard in the Beanpot consolation.  

Twitter: @aharonson28
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