It was supposed to be a chance for redemption. For the Harvard women's hockey team, last night's Beanpot Championship Game against Northeastern was an opportunity to take some of the positive out of an otherwise lackluster season.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be.
With only 10 skaters available, Harvard (6-16-0, 2-14-0 ECAC) was out-numbered and defeated soundly by the Huskies (19-8-0, 11-5-0), 8-1. Northeastern captured its 13th overall Beanpot Title and third in the last four years.
"We were going into it thinking it would be a turning point," said Harvard senior Christa Calagione.. "I'm very disappointed, but I don't think that we didn't give it our best. It's just pure numbers, and that's what all of our games have been like."
Despite its depleted squad, things looked promising for the Crimson at the onset. Harvard took the early lead when freshman Tammy Shewchuck took a pass from sophomore Claudia Asano and dribbled a soft shot just past the outstretched glove of Northeastern goaltender Shannon Meyers 1:13 into the game. That lead, however, was short-lived.
Less than four minutes later, Northeastern knotted the score at 1-1, when sophomore Erine Metcalf found the back of the net after a number of Huskies riddled the Harvard goal with shots. Three different Northeastern players were dangerously close to skating through the crease, but the equalizer counted nonetheless. That was when the Crimson ran out of steam, and the Huskies took control of the game.
After a number of failed scoring chances, Keri-Anne Allan blasted a high rocket from just inside the Crimson's blue line. Harvard goaltender Jen Bowdoin got her glove on the puck only to have it rebound into the lower left corner of the goal.
The most artful goal of the night belonged to Northeastern's Stephanie Acres. The freshman, who assissted on the go-ahead score, avoided a check by sophomore Jen Gerometta and netted a beautiful wrap-around goal with under five minutes to play in the first period that gave the Huskies a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Any hope Harvard may have had of pulling off a remarkable comeback vanished in the second period. Northeastern scored three more times and blanked the Crimson to effectively put the game out of reach.
The first of these goals came 6:35 into the period when senior Jessica Wagner took the pass from Kathryn Waldo and put it past Bowdoin for a 4-1 Northeastern lead. The Huskies then closed the books on the contest in the last two minutes of the second period.
At 18:35 Waldo and Wagner decided to switch roles. Waldo netted Northeastern's fifth goal of the game off of the assists from Wagner and senior Angela Scerra. Then, with just 6.4 seconds on the clock, junior Emily Pemrick put the Huskies up by five with a little help from Acres and Allan.
Northeastern would add two more goals in the third period to conclude the 19th annual Beanpot Tournament. The Huskies outshot the Crimson 61 to 34 in the game.
"It's unfortunate for the seniors losing the final Beanpot, but the rest of the team has years to go," Calagione said.
Despite the lopsided result, there were two key individual achievements for Harvard in the game. Bowdoin set a new school record for saves in a single game with 53, and Shewchuck's goal was her 31st of the season, which is the second highest single-season goal total in Harvard history.
After a disappointing week which included losses to powerhouses Brown and Providence, Harvard must now go on the road. The Crimson will battle Cornell and St. Lawrence this weekend in a pair of ECAC matchups.