BOSTON — After the second period, no one in Matthews Arena could believe that the Northeastern University Huskies would be tied at 1-1 with the No. 5 team in the nation. But although the Eagles pulled away with the 3-1 victory, NU took a tough BC team to the edge for 40 minutes.
We outplayed em, NU head coach Dave Flint said after the game. [BC goaltender Molly Schaus] made a few key saves, and in the third period we ran out of steam. We just gotta play 60 minutes.
The Eagles had defeated the Huskies in the previous four matchups dating back to Northeasterns last victory on January 17th 2008. Yet through the first two periods, the Huskies matched the high-flying Eagles shot-for-shot, goal-for-goal.
Thats a team that doesnt quit, BC head coach Katie King said about the Huskies, They come at you hard, and they come quick. Theyre going to be a really good team.
BC struck first 2:38 into the first frame when junior forward Allie Thunstrom took the puck down the near side to the back of the near faceoff circle, then threw a centering pass to her freshman line mate Mary Restuccia. Restuccia tipped that puck above Sulymas glove. Katelyn Kurth, who threw the puck off the center ice boards for Thunstrom, also got an assist.
Restuccia recorded her first Beanpot goal in her first shift.
Its easy to score when you play with someone like Allie [Thunstrom] and Kelli [Stack], said Restuccia. You have open space, and shell give it to you.
It took 36 seconds for Northeastern to respond. Ali Bielawski, skating into the offensive zone, got to the low circle where she lifted a backhand top-shelf goal.
The Huskies, playing on their home ice, nearly pulled ahead on the penalty kill a few minutes later. Schaus came out to play the puck, but it took a hop off of a defenders skate and right onto the stick of Missy Elumba. With Schaus nearly out of position, her mind went to Monday nights game, where the NU mens team took advantage of BC goaltender John Muses miscues.
Our [penalty kill] is all about pressure, pressure, pressure, Elumba said. I saw the goalies out, and went out to scare her. I never had that opportunity before.
The puck hit off of Schaus hip and flew over the crossbar, keeping the game tied.
That would be all the scoring for close to 39 minutes as the two goaltenders settled down.
Northeastern looked again like it had taken the lead in the second period when Kristi Kehoe seemed to have slid the puck past Molly Schaus, who was drawn to the right side. After hearing Schaus’ argument and having a conversation with the goal judge, referee Robert Tisi overturned the call, ruling that Kehoe pushed the puck in with her hand.
BC took our sticks away from us, Elumba said. We knew it was in, we just wanted an argument. We had Schaus yelling and shaken up. Elumba gave Kehoe points on the baseball slide to get into the crease. She was pretty safe.
Through two periods, the underdogs had the lead in shots 21-7, despite losing the faceoff battle by close to a 3-1 margin. Still, the Eagles, with a loss in last years Beanpot semifinals to Boston University fresh in their minds, knew they had the upper hand.
In the third, we knew wed come out strong, Restuccia said. This game means everything.
Since last years semifinal loss, we wanted a chance to get it back, said Thunstrom. We knew we needed to relax. We were having trouble with the breakout passes, and trouble getting it out of the zone.
With the man advantage, BC would score 1:49 into the third period on a play that was the main subject of debate after the game.
[Stack] was offside by two feet, Flint said.
I hesitated. I didnt think I could keep it in the zone. I thought it was still in, Stack countered.
With Alyssa Wohlfeiler in the penalty box for tripping (a rollover penalty from the end of the second), the play in question began when Northeastern tried to clear the zone. The puck hit off of Stack at or over the blue line, depending on who you believe. Stack passed it off to Becky Zavisza, who fired it on Sulyma. Danielle Welch found the rebound and nailed it through the five hole to put BC up.
There was frustration after the second goal, said Husky forward Colleen Sanborn. She was blatantly offside.
The momentum had shifted completely towards BC, who outshot NU in the third stanza 16-4.
The Stack/Thunstrom combination was not finished yet. Halfway through the third period, Allie Thunstrom pounced on a weak pass at the blue line. She sprinted up the left-wing boards, with Stack racing to the far post. Thunstrom found Stack at the post, who get it by Sulyma for the two-goal lead.
Playing shorthanded with Allie is fun, said Stack. We just fly off the boards.
The Stack/Thunstrom combination has combined for four shorthanded goals this season.
Its our trademark, Stack said.
Sulyma expected Thunstrom to turn around the front. She didnt expect the pass to Stack, who everyone thought was tied up by NU defender Stephanie Gavronsky.
Still, NU had one more chance, when a point blank backhand shot from Elumba was turned aside by Schaus right leg.
In the game, Thunstrom collected points number 100 and 101 in just 96 career games. The junior was quick to credit her lines mates.
Stack is an unbelievable stick handler, Mary is a good skater, and I guess Im the speeder, Thunstrom later said.
The Eagles move on to play the Harvard Crimson in the Championship game next Tuesday. Harvard beat the BU in the earlier game, 8-0. The Huskies will take on the Terriers in the consolation game, and are looking for one Beanpot landmark.
Our seniors have not won a beanpot game yet, Sulyma said.