Boston College still has plenty of work to do if it wants to make the Hockey East playoffs, but Tuesday’s Women’s Beanpot win over Northeastern was a giant leap in that direction.
A tournament that has historically been dominated by Northeastern and Harvard finally has taken one step towards parity.
“The Beanpot is its own season,” said BC coach Tom Babson. “That’s what we told our kids. This is history — let’s make some more of it.”
— BC coach Tom Babson, on his Eagles’ Beanpot final against No. 1 Harvard.
Standing in their way next Tuesday is No. 1 Harvard, which beat BC 17-2 the previous Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Babson said. “You might think we’re not. But we are.”
Babson credits the last Harvard game with forcing his team to raise its speed a notch.
“It’s fun to watch them myself,” Babson said. “I love to see the puck move, but we got to figure out ways to counter that and maybe mitigate a little bit of the strength they have in that line and do something with other lines.”
He remarked that Harvard’s fourth line still managed to tally four goals on his team.
If BC really does learn from getting beaten around by Harvard, then the Eagles can be happy that their next games after the Beanpot final will be the most crucial in determining their Hockey East playoff fate — a pair against Connecticut on the 20th and 22nd. For Hockey East fans, those will serve as bookends to the effective league regular-season championship — the rubber match of the New Hampshire-Providence series.
Of course, to make that game meaningful, Providence will need good results against Connecticut this weekend. The Huskies tied the Friars in their first meeting, and appear to be on a roll with wins over Quinnipiac and Brown last weekend.
Another step towards parity for the Women’s Beanpot would be for Boston University to finally step up to the varsity level. The Terriers’ club team fell 7-0 to Harvard, as the Crimson showed mercy.
“It’d be awesome for Boston hockey,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone of the prospect of BU adding a program. “This is a great place to play hockey. BU’s so good in men’s hockey. BC’s so good in men’s hockey. The Beanpot is such a big championship in the middle of the season. We just hope we get to that point.”
Northeastern Going South
After picking up her 16th defeat against BC — a school record in futility — Northeastern coach Joy Woog is running out of answers.
“It’s frustrating,” Woog said. “The kids are frustrated. They’re working hard. You can’t fault hard work. We gotta find a way to get it done. That’s what we addressed today. We didn’t find the answers for BC.”
Woog is 2-3 in her career in the Beanpot, with both wins coming against BU’s club team.
Stone understood Woog’s difficulties in her third season since Heather Linstad’s departure to Connecticut. Stone has been through the experience of developing a program. In her second and third seasons as Harvard coach, Stone set program records for defeats — then went 33-1 and won the national championship in her fifth season.
“I think when you have coaching changes — and coaching changes are positive changes, Heather leaving for what she wanted and Joy coming into a situation she wanted,” Stone said. “It takes time to get kids going in the direction you want them to go into. Northeastern’s taking their lumps in transition. Joy’s a good coach and her kids play hard.”