Game Previews, Women's Hockey

Terriers look to Beanpot Championship matchup with Northeastern at TD Garden

Photo by Cristina Romano.

It’s finally here.

After a week of anticipation, the Boston University women’s hockey team will have a chance to be crowned Beanpot champions for the first time since 2019 when it takes the ice against No. 15 Northeastern at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The historic tournament will hold its championship game at TD Garden for the first time in history. 

The Terriers (11-10-3, 9-81 Hockey East) have kept their momentum up since the exhilarating shootout victory over No. 13 Boston College in the Beanpot semifinals last week. BU swept the University of Vermont in a two-game series, earning an important six points on the weekend to move firmly into fifth place in Hockey East. 

“Do we want this feeling to be our destination or do we want it to be our turning point?” head coach Tara Watchorn said about her message after Saturday’s game. “We want this to become the regular for how we feel and knowing what we’re capable of.”

Meanwhile, the Huskies (15-9-1, 9-7-1 HE) took care of business against Harvard in their semifinal matchup with a low-scoring 1-0 effort. Since then, Northeastern has downed the University of New Hampshire 2-1 on Friday to tack on three of their own Hockey East points.

The Terriers took control of Friday night’s contest just over two minutes in with junior forward Ani Fitzgerald stealing the puck in the offensive zone and turning it into an unassisted goal. BU extended their lead to 6-0 before Vermont’s Lara Beecher prevented the shutout. Six goals are tied for the most scored by the Terriers all season — the other being a 6-1 victory over Syracuse on Oct. 21.

Junior goaltender Callie Shanahan has been lights out since returning from injury last week. Friday night marked Shanahan’s third game back, and she nearly recorded a shutout until Beecher netted one in the 60th minute, leading to a 14-save performance. Alexa Matses was between the pipes on Saturday, and the graduate netminder made impressive saves en route to a 17-save day. With the rest on Saturday, Shanahan could get the nod for the Championship. 

“She’s got the most confidence I’ve seen in a while,” assistant coach Reagan Rust said about Shanahan after Friday’s game. “To see her right now, especially after so many months, she’s been phenomenal in net.”

Photo by Cristina Romano.

Game two of the series was more competitive with Vermont grabbing an early 1-0 lead, but the Terriers stormed back, and senior forward Lacey Martin finished the job with a game-winning goal early in the third period for the 4-2 victory.

The line of Martin, Clara Yuhn and Ella Huntley has only been together for about a month, but there are no concerns about their chemistry with an explosive eight-point weekend for the three skaters. The offense was generated from all over, however, as there were six different goal-scorers for BU across the two games.

If the Terriers can keep up the penalty kill and stellar goaltending, as well as pressure on offense, they have a good chance to bring home the Beanpot trophy.

“Tuesday is going to be a really important game more so for pride than anything else, and hopefully bring another trophy back to Wally B,” Rust said. “We will be in it, for sure.”

Five things to know about the Huskies: 

  • Northeastern has gone 7-2-1 in its last 10 games with seven of those games being one-score contests. The Huskies are battle-tested and know how to eke out nail biters. 
  • Northeastern has played BU three times this season, winning every single matchup so far. The Huskies outscored the Terriers 8-2 across that stretch, but BU earned a point for the overtime loss in the last tilt on Dec. 1.
  • Northeastern and BU have only met twice in the Beanpot Championship with the Huskies taking home the cup both times with an overtime winner. The Huskies are 18-11 all-time in the championship game. 
  • The Huskies are anchored by graduate student goaltender Gwyneth Philips, who boasts a 1.12 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.
  • Northeastern’s specialty is defense with an average of 1.2 goals allowed per game and the fewest goals allowed in Hockey East. Additionally, the Huskies penalty kill is second in the nation with a 92.5 kill percentage. 

Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday at TD Garden for the Beanpot Championship. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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