CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.—A year ago, Molly Schaus was training with the U.S. Olympic team, and her teammates back in Chestnut Hill were wishing she were there. The opening round of last year’s Beanpot pitted Harvard then-freshman Laura Bellamy against fellow rookie, Corinne Boyles. Bellamy needed only 15 saves to secure the shutout, while the Crimson abused Boyles with 51 shots to take a 5-0 victory.
In the Eagles’ Beanpot rematch with Harvard, Schaus showed her team what it had been missing a year ago. While both goaltenders made impressive saves over the course of the night, the silver medalist won the cage match with a 31-save performance that secured her team its fourth Beanpot title and earned her the Joe Bertagna Goaltending Award as the best goaltender.
“I thought Molly had a few really...good saves, and big saves for us at the beginning of the game,” said Boston College coach Katie King. “She did a great job.”
The Eagles’ netminder was just as impressive in the team’s Dec. 5th meeting, which also took place in Conte Forum. But unlike the first Conte clash, the BC forwards were unable to provide Schaus with the same offensive cushion. With the Beanpot title game tied for nearly the first 45 minutes, Schaus’s play was much more critical than it had been in the team’s first meeting.
While the Crimson suffered a setback in its quest to qualify for the NCAA tournament, it also demonstrated just how far it had come since its first meeting with the Eagles, a 6-2 loss in Conte Forum.
“We’re better,” Stone said. “We’re a much better hockey team. We’re playing a team game. Our resiliency—mental and emotional resiliency—is there. It wasn’t there before. We put too much pressure on every game. Now our kids just go play. They believe in each other…Everyone stepped up.”
Perhaps no one stepped up more than Bellamy, who made 26 saves in last night’s loss. In December, the sophomore made 12 saves while allowing six goals. But over the course of January, Bellamy has found her rhythm in the cage.
In a contest that pitted her against an Olympic medalist, the sophomore held her own.
“She played great today,” Stone said. “She’s doing what she needs to do. She’s making saves she needs to make.”
Last night, the sophomore made several saves that were anything but routine. One of these saves came shortly after BC’s junior forward Mary Restuccia put her team ahead six minutes into the third period. The Eagles seemed poised to score again as one of its forwards broke free for a one-on-one with Bellamy. But the sophomore stuffed the shot, sending it behind the cage and giving her teammates time to recover.
“Unfortunately sometimes we put more pressure on her than we need to,” Stone said. “She comes up big then. She’s keeping it simple. She’s making the saves a goalie should make and every once in a while she makes a big save that hides a big mistake of ours.”
FLY LIKE AN EAGLE
Boston College may not have the historical Beanpot success of neighborhood rivals, Harvard and Northeastern—not taking their first title until 2006—but in the past six years, the Eagles have been making up for lost time.
“Hopefully this continues,” King said, “but one step at a time.”
King attributed her team’s recent success to the leadership of its senior class, especially Olympians Kelli Stack and Schaus, who serve as tri-captains with classmate Katelyn Kurth.
“Kelli [Stack] and Molly...have changed our program,” King said. “For them to be able to end their senior year ...with a win is awesome, and you know they’ve worked extremely hard for their four years that they’ve been here. ”
Stack and Schaus, both of whom missed the 2009-2010 season to compete in the Olympics, won three Beanpots in their four years with Boston College. The Crimson’s senior class will finish its career with two Beanpot titles.
—Staff writer Christina C. McClintock can be reached at email@example.com.