BOSTON — In Tuesday night’s late semifinal, Boston University put forth its best effort in its Beanpot debut as a varsity program, and Harvard admittedly did not. The result was a 1-1 game headed to overtime, and the Crimson was fortunate it had not already lost.
In the locker room, the Harvard players asked themselves the questions, “What am I going to do for my team? How can I step up? Who is going to get this done?”
The ultimate answer to the last question was freshmen Lauren Herrington and Sarah Wilson, who connected just 46 seconds into overtime for the game-winner. Harvard (11-7-4) came out with more spirit than at any point that night, and BU (10-14-4) could not match the intensity and clear the puck.
On the game-winner, Wilson snuck around behind the net to the corner. Herrington found her wide open there from the point, and Wilson barely had to touch the puck to deflect it into the net and make a tough-luck loser out of BU freshman goalie Allyse Wilcox. She made 39 saves for the night.
“I just kind of sneaked in the back door and Lauren Herrington gave me the perfect pass,” Wilson said. “To be tied at the end of three periods, we hadn’t given it our best effort, and we knew we had to get it done.”
Harvard led most of the game, beginning with a power play goal at 5:22 of the first period. After a puck deflected high into the air and came down onto Crimson sophomore Laura Brady’s stick for an uncontested shot, Harvard captain Carrie Schroyer put the rebound home.
But the Crimson could never find any insurance against Wilcox, despite a 33-10 shot advantage for the first two periods.
“That’s the way we were going to beat that goalie tonight, either an indirect shot on net or the rebounds, because we didn’t really move her that well,” Schroyer said. “We made her look like a fantastic goalie in situations because the initial shot was pretty easy to save.”
BU made the Crimson pay at 9:11 of the third period, when Laurel Koller scored a power-play goal after a series of rebounds.
“It’s hard for us at this point in the evolution of our program to match them step-by-step, but we can match them in our heart, our preparation, and our technical part of the game,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “And I like to think we have as good a goalie as anybody out there, and she sure proved me right tonight. Any time a goalie gives you momentum with her saves, the team responds to that.”
BU outshot the Crimson 7-6 in the third period and controlled the game after scoring the goal.
“Once we got the goal, we were out of control,” Wilcox said.
Harvard coach Katey Stone felt that the Crimson was fortunate even to have the opportunity to play in next week’s championship game. Durocher felt the game was within reach for BU down the stretch.
“We kind of needed to score there, but we didn’t,” said Durocher, referencing the remaining half of the third period that BU dominated. “That was our calling, and we didn’t quite get over that hurdle.”
Harvard senior goalie Ali Boe stopped 16 of 17 shots in her first appearance since missing last weekend due to a concussion.
Harvard now gets the chance to match Northeastern’s record of eight-straight Beanpot titles next week. The Crimson meets BC in the final.
BU plays Northeastern in the consolation with plenty of pride on the line. Durocher agreed that when he first took the job, he never imagined that BU would be so competitive in its first Beanpot.
“I keep talking about the kids inside that locker room, and what they bring to the rink every single day, the off-ice training, how well they absorb when we try to talk to them,” Durocher said. “I tip my cap to everything these kids have done.”