The No. 7 Northeastern Huskies advanced to their first Beanpot final since 2004 with a dramatic shootout victory over Boston University at Harvard's Bright Center on Tuesday night. After a 4-4 tie through regulation and overtime, the Huskies dispatched the Terriers in the first-ever Beanpot shootout, 2-0, on the strength of goals from freshman Rachel Llanes and Alyssa Wohlfeiler.
In a see-saw game that saw the Huskies score the first four goals-- before conceding the next four-- Northeastern prevailed in the shootout for the second time in as many games. Junior goaltender Leah Sulyma (31 saves) came up huge with two incredible shootout stops to earn her first-career shootout victory. Llanes scored the Huskies' first shootout goal for the third time this season, before Wohlfeiler put the icing on the cake to send Northeastern to its first Beanpot final in six years.
Freshman Kelly Wallace opened the scoring for Northeastern 2:56 into the contest with an unassisted tally. After a steal in the Terriers' zone, Wallace wristed a shot through the legs of a BU defender and then the pads of netminder Melissa Haber to put the Huskies on top.
Tenacious pressure in the BU end produced another goal eight minutes later as Llanes forced a turnover and beat Haber with a backhander through traffic. The Huskies' aggressive forecheck led to the turnover as Northeastern pinned BU deep in its own end for long periods of time.
Senior tri-captain Annie Hogan added a third at 16:14 of the first off a rebound from a shot by freshman Brittany Esposito. Llanes drew the secondary helper on the goal, which extended Hogan's goal streak to three straight games. Hogan has recorded at least a point in eight of her last nine games overall.
Esposito and Hogan switched places on the Huskies next goal, as the senior fed the freshman for her eighth of the year just 2:35 into the middle period. Llanes again initiated the play with a head pass up the right boards to Hogan, who swung wide around the BU defenseman and placed a centering pass right on the stick of Esposito in front.
As quickly as the Huskies had built a four-goal lead, the advantage slipped away in the second half of the game. Holly Lorms was credited with the Terriers' first goal as her attempted centering pass from the side of the net caromed off a Husky skate and between the pads of Sulyma at 11:31 of the middle frame. Lauren Cherewyk and Lorms then proceeded to score 33 seconds apart in the first 3:31 of the third to cut the Husky lead to 4-3. Melissa Anderson completed the comeback at 10:38 of the third as she fired home a Jill Cardella feed to even the scoreline.
Despite the momentum in the Terriers favor, Northeastern was able to regroup in the shootout with its fourth shootout victory of the season. The win snapped an eight-game Beanpot losing streak and earned Northeastern its first Beanpot victory over BU since the Terriers achieved Division-I status in 2005.
The Huskies will face the winner of the Boston College/Harvard game next Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the championship of the 32nd Women's Beanpot. Northeastern must first turn its attention to Providence this Saturday for a critical conference-tilt at Matthews Arena at 2 p.m.