BOSTON - Five consecutive goals in the first two periods paced the Boston University women's hockey team to a 5-2 victory over No. 7/8 Harvard on Tuesday night in the opening round of the 34th annual Women's Beanpot at Boston University.
BU (15-12-1, 9-7-0 WHEA) advanced to the championship round next Tuesday (Feb. 7), when the Terriers will host No. 8/7 Northeastern at 8 p.m. Harvard (14-7-1, 11-4-1 ECAC) will face off against No. 4 Boston College in the consolation round at 5 p.m.
The Terriers will appear in the title game for the third time as a varsity program, with their last appearance coming in 2008, the same year BU last hosted the Women's Beanpot. BU and Northeastern have never met in the 34-year history of the tournament.
The win is the Terriers' fourth win in a row and their third straight victory against a ranked opponent. All three of those victories came against the three other schools which compete in the Beanpot, as BU knocked off Boston College and Northeastern last week.
Junior Jill Cardella put the Terriers on the board first with a shorthanded strike at the 6:30 mark of the opening period. The play began when senior Tara Watchorn broke up a Harvard outlet pass at center ice. The puck deflected to Cardella at the Crimson blue line, where she chipped it past a defender and broke in alone on goaltender Laura Bellamy (33 saves), whom she beat cleanly for her eighth goal of the season.
Just over six minutes later, the Terriers' special teams factored on the team's second goal, as the power play got to work. Sophomore Louise Warren won the faceoff to junior Taylor Holze, who then dished it to sophomore Kaleigh Fratkin. The chain continued to senior Kasey Boucher, who finally laid a perfect pass to Fratkin, who blasted a shot past Bellamy.
Sophomore forward Marie-Philip Poulin, playing in her first Beanpot game, made it 3-0 at the 4:37 mark of the second stanza. Warren began the play by kicking the puck out of her defensive zone to junior Isabel Menard. Menard then skated through the neutral zone and was able to stay onside and feather a pass to Poulin, who lifted a backhander over Bellamy for her fourth marker of the season.
The final two minutes of the middle frame proved fortuitous for BU, as it earned two more goals in that time frame. The first one came with 1:54 left in the period when Menard beat Bellamy with a beautiful shot for her 12th goal of the year. Senior Jenn Wakefield then finished off the stanza with her team-leading 18th goal of the season at the 19:55 mark.
Harvard was able to capitalize on a pair of power plays in the final frame, its last goal coming with just 4:51 remaining in regulation. Sophomore Kerrin Sperry shut down the Crimson for a majority of the evening, as she made 25 saves, including 21 in the final two frames.
Despite allowing two power play tallies, BU managed to kill off nine of the 11 power plays it faced. The Terriers own the fourth-best penalty killing unit in the nation.
After four consecutive home games, BU will finally hit the road for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the New Hampshire Wildcats. Puck drop is scheduled for 2 p.m.