On the eve of its semifinal matchup against Boston University in the 34th annual women’s Beanpot, the No. 8 Harvard women’s hockey team (14-6-1, 11-4-1 ECAC) had one thing on its mind: a chance at retribution.
“It’s all about pride,” junior forward Jillian Dempsey said. “We lost last year in the [Beanpot] finals, and my freshman year we won. We want to get the taste of the Beanpot back again. We have a unique opportunity to play in such a special little tournament.”
The tournament—which pits the Crimson, BU, Northeastern, and Boston College against each other in a two-round battle for Boston-area dominance—kicks off Tuesday night at the Terriers’ Walter Brown Arena.
The Huskies and the Eagles are up first, while the Crimson and BU (14-12-1, 9-7 Hockey East) close out the doubleheader in Boston.
“As a team, we know that we have a really good shot at winning the Beanpot,” sophomore forward Kalley Armstrong continued. “We all know we can, it’s just about us accepting that and just going out and getting it.”
Harvard started off last year’s Beanpot in dramatic fashion, earning a shootout victory over Northeastern in double overtime.
But the Crimson had a bit of a letdown in the finals, dropping its contest against the Eagles, 3-1.
Boston College asserted itself as the top Boston-area school on both the men’s and women’s side last year, taking home both Beanpot titles on consecutive nights.
Although the memory of last year’s loss in the finals is still fresh, Harvard’s current focus is on its first-round matchup on Tuesday night.
“We’re playing to get to next Tuesday,” Armstrong said. “We’re just thinking about winning [this Tuesday night] first, and then we’ll take the next Tuesday as it comes.”
To get an opportunity to play for its 14th Beanpot title in school history, Harvard will have to go through a strong Terrier squad that has bounced in and out of the national rankings this season.
“We’re up against a tough opponent,” Dempsey said. “There were a lot of strong points we can take away from this weekend. But we need to tighten up and strengthen everything because BU will definitely capitalize on our mistakes.”
The Terriers are currently on a three-game winning streak and have been ranked as high as No. 2/3 in national polls.
“BU is a really good team,” captain Alisa Baumgartner said. “They dropped out of the [national] polls two weeks ago, which is kind of shocking because they’re a really good team. That’s something that we can’t overlook going into this game. They have a lot of really skilled players, and I think it will be a really good game.”
But despite the magnitude of the matchup, Harvard has no plans to drastically adjust its style of play against BU.