Playing for a Different Pot of Beans
The Women's Beanpot
February 16, 1982.
Northeastern and Harvard have played three even periods of regulation and skated through four scoreless overtime stanzas in the first game of the 1982 Women's Beanpot. Now, 5:37 in the fifth overtime and almost four hours since the start of the game, the Crimson's Sue Newell breaks into the Husky zone and deposits the puck in the Northeastern twines for a 3-2 victory, putting Harvard in its first Beanpot final.
February 19, 1982.
Both Harvard and Boston University enter the third period of the Beanpot championship in a scoreless tie. B.U. goalie Lisa Whitcomb surrenders her first two goals in four games of Beanpot play, as the Crimson finally emerges a 2-1 victor, taking its first-ever championship.
Beanpot, The word has men's hockey written all over it. And with it comes vision of some of college hockey's finest games.
But the Beanpot tourney many consider one of the finest had little to do with men's hockey. For this one had women's hockey written all over it. And all one has to do to find it is look at last year's tournament. For last year's Northeastern- Harvard and B.U.-Harvard showdowns, were two of women's hockey's all-time best.
Now a year later, the stage is set for revenge. But each squad, along with Boston College, will have a tough time when opening-round action of the fifth annual women's Beanpot begins Tuesday.
Harvard, hosting the tournament at Bright Center for the first time, will square off against Boston College at 6 p.m., followed by Northeastern vs. B.U. at 8:30 p.m. The consolation game will take place at 6 p.m. and the championship game at 8:30 p.m. on February 18.
Northeastern, which skated its way to the first two Beanpot titles, has again clearly emerged as the tournament favorite. Under second-year Coach Don McCloud, the Huskies enter with a 9-3 record, having already blown out both B.C. (by scores of 13-0 and 14-0) and Harvard (7-1 earlier this year).
"Sure I think we should be favored to win this year's tournament," McCloud said. "After all, we've beaten the other local schools. But I learned long ago that in a tournament like the Beanpot, you have to respect everyone, because everyone gets out there and plays with a great deal of emotion."
And Terrier Coach Don Christakos agrees. "You have to go with Northeastern as the pre-tournament favorite, but this is the Beanpot Tournament we're talking about. It's like a whole new season. Anything can happen. I look to Harvard as a possible surprise."
That's exactly what happened last year: Harvard turned out to be the surprise of the tournament. The Crimson will, like last year, take a 6-5 record into the tournament, after posting big wins over Wesleyan and Yale. But Harvard Coach John Dooley is not overconfident.
"We are at a disadvantage," he says. "We haven't been practicing together for too long and may be kind of rusty," adds Dooley, whose squad just returned to the ice last week after a two-week exam break, though the two recent victories may have restored Harvard's momentum.
Here's a brief scouting report of all four teams and how they match up in the first round:
Boston University vs. Northeastern: These two-teams did not meet in last year's tourney and have not played so far this year. Each has had a great deal of success in the tournament; B.U. is 5-3 in Beanpot play and took the 'Pot in 1981 while Northeastern has a 6-2 record in the tournament and won it in 1979 and 1980.
This match-up has promise to become one of the tournament's best to date. The Terriers enter with a 7-1-1 record and a strong, well-balanced team. Co-Captains Jeffy Cowles and Nancy Mike, both seniors, are extremely steady on defense, and senior center Debbie Gautreau averages 3.4 points a game and senior wing Lisa Cowen 2.4 points a game.
But the real stalwart of the B.U. squad is junior goalie Lisa Whitcomb. A Stoneham, Mass. native, Whitcomb has recorded three shutouts in four Beanpot appearances and had a hot tournament two years ago when the Terriers won the classic.
"Our opponent is going to have to take a lot of shots to beat her," said Christakos of Whitcomb, who has a solid 1.44 goals-against average so far this season.
But if one team in the tournament is capable of taking a lot of shots it's Northeastern. The Huskies (9-3 on the year) boast two solid offensive lines, with junior center Carolyn Sullivan, freshman center Lisa Sylvia and freshman right wing Kerrie Cronin the players to watch. The trio was red hot in a recent 9-5 triumph over women's hockey powerhouse Princeton.
And on defense, freshman Sharon Stidsen, senior Patti MaGrath, junior Roseann Boyd and sophomore Beth Murphy have turned last year's weak Huskie defense into one of the nation's finest.
In goal, freshman Patti Hunt, with a 1.32 goals-agains verage, has taken over the number-one position. But Northeastern won't hesitate to go to last year's top netminder, Kathy Scanlan.
Boston College vs. Harvard: B.C. has had little success in Beanpot play, turning in a 2-6 record. Meanwhile, the defending champion Crimson squad has not fared much better, skating to a 3-5 mark in the tournament. The two teams, which have not met yet this year, appear to be heading in opposite directions, though.
The Eagles, under Coach Peggy Cameron (the holder of the tourney career goalie saves record, with 164 from 1979-1981) are extremely young and have only recorded one win in nine games so far this year.
"We have a team made up of a lot of freshmen and sophomores," Cameron said. "We have a goaltender [junior Anne Marie Looney] who is just learning the position, and we have some questionable areas on defense, so we're interested in playing an all-out offensive game. Quite frankly, we're back to square one."
The Eagles' junior center Lynne Murray is the player B.C. will look to for help against the strong Harvard squad.
At 6-5, the Crimson has had recent troubles finishing off its opponents after a strong start, but seems to be regaining its early-season form. "We're strong at both the forward and defensive positions, but we have to make sure we forecheck really well if we expect to play well," Dooley said.
The icewomen will need a strong performance from junior goalie Cheryl Tate, the MVP of last year's tournament after Harvard had finished last in the previous three Beanpots. Tate, who set tourney records with 67 saves in the five-overtime game and 89 saves in the two-game tournament, has a 4.1 goals-against average and an 85.6 save average in 10 games this season.
Juniors Diane Hurley and Kathy Carroll are the Crimson's top scorers, and seniors Jennifer White, Vicki Palmer and Alex Lightfoot are all key players.