BOSTON — When the final buzzer sounded, Boston College had won its second Beanpot of 2011, and the women didn’t need an overtime to do it. The Eagles beat the Harvard Crimson, 3-1, at Kelley Rink.
“I was watching the men’s game last night and they said only one school has ever done it before,” said goaltender Molly Schaus. “A lot of bragging rights for Boston College for sure.”
BC took a 2-1 lead 6:52 into the third period. Mary Restuccia took the puck from Harvard with one player between her and the goalie. She made a couple moves back and forth to put the defensemen and goaltender off guard and fired it in stick side.
“They were trying to get the puck out of the zone,” said Restuccia. “Luckily, she just shot it right into me and I was able to get past her and deke the goalie and go backhand, and she gave me the net.”
The 13 minutes remaining left a lot of time with which Harvard might be able to tie the game back up. BC was looking for a security goal. Forward Taylor Wasylk almost had it with a power-play shot that deflected off the post.
With 3:18 left in the game, forward Kelli Stack was there to provide the cushion. Restuccia fed her the puck and Stack hit an open seem for a breakaway goal to make the game 3-1.
“We were planning for the end of the game, pull the goalie thing,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone. “But then all of a sudden, the seas parted and that’s the last player you want to have with the puck going in on the goaltender.”
The play had started off pretty even. BC got more shots off in the first period, but the teams looked pretty well matched. Harvard had a good scoring opportunity early. Defenseman Mariss Gedman fired a shot from the top of the circle that Schaus blocked with her pad. Forward Liza Ryabkina then pounced on the rebound, forcing Schaus to recover quickly to make a glove save.
With just under three minutes left in the frame, forward Caitlin Walsh broke the stalemate with her first goal of the season. Walsh took the puck from Ashley Motherwell and had no one other than the goaltender, Laura Bellamy, in front of her. Defenseman Laura Coskren was close behind her, but Walsh fired the puck in glove side before Coskren caught up.
Before BC’s pep band had even finished playing its fight song, Harvard answered with a goal of its own. Katharine Chute made a move around BC defenseman Jessica Martino and snuck the puck in over Schaus’s left shoulder.
“That’s something that our team has been doing all year and I hoped we would do it again after they scored their second goal,” Stone said of the immediate responding goal.
The Eagles had another chance nine minutes into the second period. Forward Danielle Welch raced down the ice and sent a shot on goal and saw the lights flash then turn off as the puck hit the pipe and deflected out of the net. The play was reviewed, but stood without a goal.
“I always think those go in, always hope they go in,” said BC coach Katie King. “That’s one of the reasons we have video replay.”
In addition to the Beanpot title, BC walked away with two individual awards. Schaus won the Bertagna award, granted to a goaltender who performs the best. She made 64 saves in the tournament for a .970 save percentage. Restuccia’s two goals and two assists earned her the MVP.
The championship was BC’s second in four years, and both have been against Harvard. These two teams have met in the Beanpot finals seven times since 1999; the Eagles have won the last three of those meetings, in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
“The Beanpot means a tremendous amount to Harvard hockey,” said Stone. There was no energy spent getting these kids up for this game. They were ready, as they were ready to come back last week. It means a lot.”
BC came into this game following a rough weekend of a loss and tie with Maine. The Eagles immediately put those games behind them to get ready for the Beanpot.
“Our kids did a great job realizing the importance of this game,” said King. “We love the Beanpot; obviously it’s a fun event for our kids and to have a championship in the middle of the season is a special thing.”
Schaus and Stack, who both took a year off to play in the Olympics last year, were the only two to have played in the game five years ago when they beat BU for the Beanpot title at Kelley rink. Now they have a second Beanpot Championship at home.
“It’s a perfect ending,” said Schaus. “We were the only team in the country that had a chance to win a championship on home ice in February, and we took advantage of it.”