Less than 24 hours after the Northeastern men celebrated their third straight Beanpot, the focus shifts to Walter Brown Arena, where the fourth-ranked Huskies take on Boston University in the 42nd Women’s Beanpot.
Northeastern will be competing for a record 17th title against Boston University Tuesday night in the Women’s Beanpot final, as well as a chance to complete Beanpot sweep, a feat the Huskies hockey teams haven’t carried off in 32 years.
The Huskies (25-3-1), are winners of their last 10 games, and have already clinched the regular-season title of Hockey East. Loaded with talent on both ends of the ice, they would appear to be favored. Last month, they beat the Terriers by a score of 2-1 at Matthews Arena, on shorthanded goals by sophomore Alina Mueller and junior Skylar Fontaine.
But this game will be on BU’s home ice, where the Terriers should enjoy home-crowd support, and the Huskies, who haven’t won a Beanpot since 2013, know better than to take this opponent lightly.
Last year, BU surprised Northeastern in the tournaments’s opening round, winning a 2-1 shootout on the way to their second Beanpot title in school history.)
“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 Huskies forward Chloé Aurard, who grew up in France and knew nothing of the Beanpot before arriving at Northeastern. “That’s why I don’t want to make that mistake to lose. I want the extra motivation to play for the seniors.”
To take this year’s title 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,” Northeastern coach Dave 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.
The Huskies rank No. 2 nationally in penalty kills, and their stingy defense 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.
Their failure to score easy goals has toughened the Huskies and taught them how to grind out wins. This quality will come in handy as they pursue the Beanpot title.
“For our players, it’s one of those boxes they haven’t checked yet,” Flint said. “They have some regular-season championships, Hockey East tournament championships, and trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Beanpot is one of those things that the senior class would like to check off.”