A third comeback in three games led Harvard women’s ice hockey to victory over Northeastern by a score of 4-3 in the Beanpot Consolation match on Tuesday evening. The victory gave the Crimson third place in the fortieth edition of the four team tournament, the third time the team has won the consolation match in the last three seasons.
Fans were treated to an extremely back and forth match at Boston College’s Conte Forum on Tuesday evening, with freshman forward Keely Moy’s early goal for Harvard (12-13-2, 9-9-2 ECAC) getting cancelled out within 2 minutes by a Northeastern equalizer. The Huskies (14-14-3, 10-10-2 Hockey East) looked the more confident of the two sides early, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead before halfway through the second period.
The Crimson seemed to settle into the game as it progressed, starting to really test the Northeastern defense in the second period. Harvard went on to score three unanswered goals of its own, its comeback starting when a thumping shot from the blue line from sophomore defender Ali Peper found the bottom corner of the net with 10:10 to play in the second. The Crimson was dominant for much of the remainder of the game, pulling ahead in shots on goal before pulling ahead on the scoreboard on two goals from freshman forward Becca Gilmore.
Gilmore stole the show for Harvard, combining with sophomore forward Kat Hughes on her first, and following up on a longshot from Peper to give the Crimson the 4-3 advantage with 12:23 to play in the game. These were goal number eleven and twelve on the season for the ECAC Rookie of the Week, who leads the team in points (30) as well as assists (18), and is averaging more than a point per game this season for the Crimson. Hughes also picked up her share of accolades this week, as she was named the NCAA First Star of the Week as well as ECAC player of the week.
Neither side was able to convert on the man advantage on the night, with both teams going 0-3 on power plays. The Huskies did grab a shorthanded goal, however, finding the net in a four on five situation in the second period when Tori Sullivan broke through the the Crimson’s defense to score on a counter attack.
Freshman goalie Becky Dutton seemed to gain confidence as the night went on, struggling to cover the puck early, but finishing the game convincingly with 20 saves. The most important of these came with just over a minute to play, when she came up big for the Crimson, saving a shot and then the ensuing rebound when Northeastern broke away on a two versus two, preserving Harvard’s lead and ensuring the victory.
“I think it’s something that we can use as a confidence booster,” Dutton said. “We had a bit of a tough stretch there, but now we’re on a three game winning streak. It’s only three games, but it’s definitely a really good start, and it gives us confidence going into this weekend.”
Losing would have obviously been disappointing for the Crimson, as in any game, but the fact that Harvard has finished fourth in the Beanpot just three times in the tournament’s forty-year history would have made it even tougher to swallow.
The Crimson has won the tournament, which pits the team against Boston’s historical hockey powerhouses, Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern, fourteen times in the forty it has been played. This makes Harvard the tournament’s second most successful team ever, only behind its opponents from last night, Northeastern, which has racked up sixteen titles since the tournament’s inception.
Boston College has taken home the trophy eight times, with its first title coming in 2006. Boston University has only won the coveted title once, way back in 1981. There is one champion who is not one of the four classic Beanpot teams: Brown. In 1993, Brown University, stepping in for Boston University, beat Northeastern 3-0 to take home its first and only beanpot title in its lone appearance.
“The Beanpot is a great opportunity because it allows us to play for a championship before playoffs,” junior defenseman Bradley Fusco said. “It’s special for me especially because I grew up going to the Beanpot with my dad since right after I was born, so it means a lot to me and it’s something that I look forward to every year, especially because it was a dream of mine when I was younger to play in one.”
—Staff writer Eamon J. McLoughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.