Can the Huskies sweep the Beanpots for the first time in 32 years?

Northeastern University women’s hockey battles Harvard University in the 2020 Beanpot at the Walter Brown Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

Now that Northeastern men have won their third straight Beanpot, the focus shifts to Walter Brown Arena. There, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the Women’s Beanpot final against Boston University, the Huskies will aim to complete Northeastern’s first sweep of both city championships in 32 years.

“It would be huge for the university and for both hockey programs,” said women’s coach Dave Flint. “I’m always really supportive of the men’s team and they’re always really supportive of us, so I’d love nothing more than to see both teams get the Beanpot and bring it home—not only for the teams, but for the school and the students and all the alums that went through the tough years.”

The men responded to a 29-year Beanpot drought by earning a three-peat of championships on Monday at TD Garden against BU. On Tuesday, against the same opponent, the Northeastern women will be seeking their first Beanpot title since 2013. 

“It would be a pretty special moment if it could happen,” Flint said.

The Huskies (25-3-1) have the talent to claim the 42nd Women’s Beanpot. They’ve won their last 10 games overall, they are No. 4 nationally in the PairWise rankings, and their roster is loaded with talent at both ends of the ice. Just two weeks ago, they beat BU 2-1 at Matthews Arena on shorthanded goals by Alina Mueller and Skylar Fontaine.

But this game will be on BU’s home ice, where the Terriers should enjoy majority support. Last year, in the Beanpot’s opening round, they surprised Northeastern in a 2-1 shootout after a period of overtime failed to break a 3-3 tie. (The Terriers went onto win the Beanpot for only the second time in school history.) That game was a revelation for Huskies forward Chloe Aurard, who grew up in France and knew nothing of the Beanpot before arriving at Northeastern.

“I remember the seniors being completely sad after the game, and that’s when I understood that the Beanpot was actually a big thing,” said Aurard, a sophomore who ranks second behind Mueller with 18 goals and 37 points. “That’s why I don’t want to make that mistake to lose. I want the extra motivation to play for the seniors.”

Defenseman Paige Capistran is one of Northeastern’s four seniors. The first women’s college hockey game she attended, as a sixth-grader from Manchester, New Hampshire, was the Beanpot a decade ago. She was at TD Garden in 2018 when the Northeastern men won their first Beanpot in 30 years.

“The energy gave me chills going to bed that night,” Capistran said. “Watching them succeed makes us want to succeed.”

Despite their current six-year drought, the Huskies rank No. 1 with 16 Women’s Beanpot titles overall. Having already clinched the regular-season title of Hockey East, they are now facing their next big goal. It will mean dealing with a disciplined, defensive-minded opponent in BU (19-6-3), which is No. 9 in the PairWise national rankings.

“They always run the same systems, but they run them very well,” Flint said of the Terriers. “They’ll try to wear you down and capitalize when you make a mistake. Their power play is really good, and they have good goaltending.”

Corinne Schroeder, a 5-foot-11-inch junior, is allowing 1.5 goals per game for BU. 

The Huskies are led from the back by goaltender Aerin Frankel, who is averaging 1.06 goals per game. She was outstanding in Northeastern’s 3-1 semifinal win over Harvard last week despite dealing with the flu.

Though three Northeastern defensemen—Codie Cross, Brooke Hobson, and Brooke Tucker—are dealing with injuries, the Huskies rank No. 2 nationally in penalty kills. Their tight play defensively has enabled them to overcome their difficulties at the other end. Northeastern has converted just 16.5 percent of its power plays this season; Wisconsin, the No. 1 team in the PairWise rankings, leads the nation with 37.8 percent conversion of its power plays.

“At some point our power play is going to get clicking,” Flint said. “Our penalty-kill has been so good, and that’s bailed us out.”

Their failure to score easy goals has toughened the Huskies and taught them how to grind out wins. What better training could they have as they pursue their biggest prize thus far?

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