CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — For the third straight year, 60 minutes was not enough time to decide the Beanpot game between the Harvard Crimson and the Northeastern Huskies.
With the last two Beanpot meetings between these two programs going into overtime, it came as no surprise to anyone in Conte Forum when the clock ticked down to zero in the third period with the score at 3-3.
And when Jennifer Botterill, who scored the game-winner in overtime each of the previous two years, got the puck alone in front of Northeastern netminder Erika Silva more than six minutes into the overtime frame on Tuesday night, it came as no surprise that the game was over.
Harvard won, 4-3 in overtime, the exact outcome from last year’s Beanpot championship between these two teams. Same score, same goal-scorer, same outcome.
“[Botterill] was in the right place at the right time, and she knows how to finish,” was the understatement of the day from Crimson coach Katie Stone. Botterill was named Beanpot Most Valuable Player for her efforts. The trophy will sit next to the one she won last year, no doubt.
“It’s just a bounce of the puck, and we were fortunate to be on the right side of that bounce,” Stone said. “The kids did a nice job of getting it out of the zone when it looked like we were going to get hemmed in by Northeastern. A little bounce off the boards by Suurkask, and Botterill was able to poke it through.”
Botterill’s heroics came at 6:35 of the overtime period. Despite her extra-session domination in the Beanpot, Botterill downplayed any talk of the overtime period being any different from the rest of the game.
“You want to win the whole game,” Botterill said. “Play tough defense, and put the puck in the net when you get the chances. We were just determined to play our game, and every time we hit the ice, we were determined to make the most of every shift we had.”
The goal came on the 43rd shot of the night faced by Silva, and by stopping 39 of those 43 shots, she earned herself the Joseph Bertagna Goaltender Award, given annually to the goaltender with the highest save percentage in the tournament. It was small consolation for losing the game.
“The last time [the Northeastern players] won it, they were freshmen,” said Northeastern coach Joy Woog. “Now they are seniors, and they really wanted to get it back this year. As seniors, going out, that was one thing they really wanted to do.
“It’s a big disappointment. It hurts.”
The night started promisingly for the Huskies, as strong play in the first two periods led to a 3-1 Northeastern lead going into the final frame.
Harvard got on the scoreboard first, however, on a power-play goal late in the first period. With Northeastern’s Jessica Ferwerda serving a penalty for holding, Botterill won a crucial offensive zone faceoff and got the puck to a streaking Kalen Ingram, who put the puck past Silva for the 1-0 lead at 18:20 of the first, just three seconds into the advantage.
Northeastern got the equalizer late in the second, with a nice personal effort by Husky defenseman Erica Archambeau. With Harvard on a power play, Archambeau stole the puck at center ice and made a nifty move around a Crimson defender to skate in unopposed on Ruddock. While Ruddock made the stop on the Archambeau shorthanded bid, the puck wasn’t cleared out of the crease before Betsy Dyke pounced on the rebound and knotted the score at 1.
The score didn’t stay that way for long. Despite a largely ineffective Northeastern power play that saw most of the action in the Huskies’ own defensive zone, the Huntington Hounds soon found themselves behind the Harvard net. Colleen Coen found a clear path to an open Jennifer Santerre in front of the net to give Northeastern its first lead of the night.
In the final minute of play in the third, Northeastern defenseman Kim Greene took a seemingly harmless shot from a severly shortened angle to Harvard goalie Jessica Ruddock’s left. Mysteriously, the puck found an opening, squeezing through the five hole for the unexpected 3-1 Northeastern lead.
The Harvard players regrouped during the intermission, and began flying in the third period.
“We just wanted to win the period,” said Harvard forward Tammy Shewchuk, who had an assist on the Crimson’s first goal of the third period. “We have an attitude that no matter how much we are down or what situation we are in, we will be able to overcome. There’s a lot of that in the locker room.”
“We understood that we didn’t play our best hockey at the beginning of the game,” Stone said. “We needed to show up, and we showed up in the third period and in the overtime, and that’s really what counted.”
Harvard improved to 2-for-3 on the power play with a tally by Botterill at 4:48 of the third period. With the Crimson applying pressure, there was a scrum in front of Silva when Shewchuk shoveled the puck out to a well-positioned Botterill, who roofed a shot over Silva’s shoulder for the goal.
The game was tied up at three just a minute and 34 seconds later when Kiirsten Suurkask took the puck unopposed the length of the ice and skated in on Silva with a one-on-none break. With a quick wrister, she tied the game at 3 with a shot that eluded Silva’s glove.
“It’s really nice to see Kiirsten Suurkask get a goal, because she works so hard,” said Shewchuk. “She’s one of the hardest working people out there. The second line has been playing wonderfully all season, I think it’s just a rarity that people actually notice.”
There was no further scoring in the third period, primarily because of big saves by Silva. That set the stage for Botterill to work her magic in the extra frame.
It was clear that the game had an extra significance, being the Beanpot Championship.
“It’s not just for two points in the ECAC tonight, it is for bragging rights in Boston,” said Shewchuk. “I mean, every time we go out there with Northeastern it’s a battle, but you can see it in their eyes. They work harder on these nights.”
Katie Stone agreed. “It’s awesome. It’s a huge tournament. Northeastern is a great team, and they have had a hold on the Beanpot for a long time. I’m very, very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to dominate this tournament for the last three years.”
Botterill summed up the experience for her. “[The Beanpot's] such a treat to play in, and I feel very honored that I get the chance to play in it.”