BOSTON, Mass. — Every year the Women’s Beanpot coaches talk of how their tournament will eventually have the parity and competitiveness of the Men’s Beanpot. Once again, that year is not this year.
No. 6 Harvard (17-6-2) won its seventh straight Beanpot Tuesday night and 11th overall by a 6-1 margin over Boston College (7-16-4). Harvard has now won seven straight Beanpot games, as well as its last 13 head-to-head meetings with BC, by four or more goals.
“The Beanpot means a tremendous amount to our program and to be able to keep it back in Cambridge for a seventh year is something that makes me very satisfied,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone.
Next year will mark a new era in Women’s Beanpot competitiveness, because Boston University under former men’s assistant Brian Durocher will bring a varsity team for the first time. In addition, Northeastern under first-year coach Laura Schuler and BC under third-year coach Tom Mutch expect rapid improvement as they bring in their own recruits. The promise of parity in the Women’s Beanpot may soon finally come true.
“It’s going to elevate for years to come,” said BC coach Tom Mutch. “There’s no doubt that Laura Schuler’s going to be doing a terrific job. Brian Durocher works his tail off, and Katey’s not going to stop.I’d like to be sitting here two or three years from now knowing that all four teams are going to be pretty close.”
As for now, this Beanpot final was close for less than a period. Harvard led 3-0 after the first intermission and 5-0 after two. Tri-captain Nicole Corriero, who had two goals and two assists in both the final and the semifinal, was named the Beanpot’s Most Valuable Player. Junior Ali Boe stopped 32 of 33 shots and earned the Joe Bertagna Award as the tournament’s top goaltender. Harvard outshot BC 45-17 for the game.
In all, five different Crimson players scored goals and nine different players had points.
“Everybody had the opportunity to contribute to this Beanpot, which is great,” Stone said. “It hasn’t always happened in the past and I think that’s a complement to how hard everyone’s played.”
Like in most games, Harvard took a little while to feel out its opponent before the floodgates opened. Freshman Laura Brady netted the first goal at 12:54 when she received the puck across from Corriero and buried it top shelf.
Corriero scored her first goal at 14:28 of the first period when she drove around the outside of a BC defender and didn’t sway from her path to the net even as she was struck from behind.
Sarah Vailliancourt, fresh off a trip with the Canadian Under-22 team, made the score 3-0 with a power play goal at 18:01. Corriero put in another power play goal at 7:54 of the second period after Vaillancourt and tri-captain Julie Chu worked the puck down to her at the crease. Chu got a goal of her own shorthanded at 13:21.
Boston College finally got on the scoreboard at 6:17 of third period when freshman Sarah Feldman deposited a pass across from Kerri Sanders. Harvard answered shortly thereafter when Corriero and defenseman Ashley Banfield successfully executed a two-on-one give-and-go.
The hope of BC coach Tom Mutch is that this game will have pushed his team to a higher level for the stretch run of the Hockey East season. The Eagles’ remaining schedule includes weekend series against perennial powers No. 8 New Hampshire and No. 10 Providence, as well as a pair against Maine, who figures to be BC’s rival for the last of four Hockey East playoff spots.
“That’s a pretty good game for us to play in knowing that as much as we wanted to win this game, now with six games left in our regular season, we won’t face a pace like that the rest of the way,” Mutch said.
With the win, Harvard improved to 10-0-1 in the new year. The Crimson looks to continue its forward progress against No. 5 St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
“We’re right where I want to be,” Stone said. “We have some of our best hockey ahead of us.”