In the 40th annual women’s Beanpot tournament, the teams from Boston College and Boston University provided a true Battle for Boston Tuesday night before a loud home crowd of 888 at BC’s Conte Forum, and a showcase for just how much the women’s game has improved in those 40 years.
With some of the best scorers in the nation dueling each other and a pair of prime-time goalies, it took overtime to crown a Beanpot champion.
The Eagles took an early lead, the Terriers wrestled it away, only to have BC tie the game in the final frantic minutes of regulation. The back and forth continued into overtime, but BC got the last chance, earning a power play when Abbey Stanley was called for tripping. Eagles captain Toni Ann Miano cashed it in, sending a wrist shot from the center point whistling past BU goalie Corinne Schroeder at 14:57 to give BC a 4-3 victory. Fourth-ranked Boston College (26-3-3) claimed its third straight Beanpot and eighth overall. BC has won all eight in the last 13 years.
“We want the Beanpot, all the other awards are just add-ons,’’ said BC goalie Katie Burt, who had 35 saves and picked up the Bertagna Award as the tournament’s top goalie. “It’s really nice to win the championship on home ice.’’
BC freshman Daryl Watts, a Toronto native, introduced herself to the Beanpot record books with two goals, including the tying goal late in the third period. Already the nation’s leading scorer, she connected for BC when it mattered most.
“It was a great pass from Molly Slowe and I just took a chance and shot it and luckily it went in,’’ MVP Watts said of the shot she roofed into the BU net at 15:52 of the third. “I think that just gave our team a boost of energy and just got us refocused and I think it kind of swung the momentum to our side.’’
Said BU coach Brian Durocher, “It was a real classic with some of the country’s best playing really well.’’
The Eagles came into the game with a dominant offense, featuring three of the nation’s top six scorers: No. 1 Watts (72 points), No. 2 sophomore Caitrin Lonergan (66), and No. 6 junior Makenna Newkirk (53) and immediately knocked down a 2-0 lead in the first period.
BU (11-15-6) looked to be in form to win its first Beanot as a varsity program when the Terriers came charging back with three second-period goals, taking a 3-2 lead. BU won its only title in 1981 as a club team.
But Watts’s fiery shot in the final minutes of the third changed the script.
Watts is in her first year at the Heights, flinging in goals as fast as she can load them up on her stick. She has led the nation in goals from her first week on the ice, collecting three goals and two assists in her first two games.
Her linemate Lonergan, already has reached 100 career points in 43 games.
By the end of the first period, both Watts and Lonergan had picked up a pair of points, Watts her nation’s best 38th goal and Lonergan her 100th career point.
Watts opened the scoring at 2:18, beating Schroeder with a straightforward shot from the bottom of the right circle.
At 12:26, Slowe collected her second goal of the season on passes from Watts and Lonergan. That one marked Lonergan’s 100th. Lonergan leads the NCAA in assists with 40.
Burt made three difficult saves in the first period, including a pair of flashy glove saves on BU’s top scorers Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie.
But the Terriers came careening back in the second period, paced by Bach and Leslie. Not to be outdone by the BC numbers, Bach finally connected on a willowy rush through the BC defensive zone, unloading a high shot to score her 25th goal of the season and 100th of her career, becoming the first player in program history to reach 100.
Defenseman Reagan Rust tied it up at 4:00 with a power play goal, putting a shot through Burt’s pads from the left circle. Lonergan was in the box for hooking.
Leslie then gave the energized Terriers the lead at 8:16, taking advantage of an odd man rush to sent a wrist shot past Burt.
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Freshman Becca Gilmore scored goals 2:01 apart in the third period as Harvard (12-13-2) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Northeastern (14-15-3), 4-3, in the consolation game. Gilmore, a Wayland native and Nobles grad, also had an assist in the third straight victory for the young Crimson team.