Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.
In a replay of the men’s Beanpot title game one night earlier, Northeastern (1) trailed Boston University in the early-going of the Women’s Beanpot final, (2) recovered to hold the lead in the third period, (3) braced defensively when the Terriers pulled their goaltender in the closing two minutes, and (4) were dragged into overtime after BU scored a deflating goal in the frantic final seconds.
Hold on, it gets better.
Northeastern converted a power play in the second overtime to win 4-3 Tuesday on an unlikely goal by defender Lauren MacInnis after 21 minutes and 3 seconds of sudden-death hockey—a result that mirrored the extra-man, double-overtime goal that had been scored Monday by defender Jordan Harris.
“We decided we were going to follow suit from the men’s game,” joked Northeastern coach Dave Flint. “It was an unbelievable game from start to finish.”
At the end of this road twice taken, Northeastern became champion of both Beanpot titles for the first time in 32 years—thanks to the Huskies’ first Women’s Beanpot championship since 2013. No one was more surprised than MacInnis, a junior who was forced to join the power play for the first time all season after the ejection of Skylar Fontaine, Northeastern’s star defender, midway through the second period.
As the climactic play developed, Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel—who earned the Bertagna Award as top goaltender of the 42nd Women’s Beanpot after making 30 saves in the final—could see that the momentum of play had drawn her counterpart, BU goalie Corinne Schroeder, out of position to the left just as the puck hopped in front of MacInnis.
“I went right behind Lauren,” said forward Chloé Aurard, who scored Northeastern’s first two goals and was voted MVP of the Beanpot. “I saw she didn’t have her head up. I was thinking, ‘If you miss that net …’”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been that close to the net with that wide an opening,” said MacInnis, who was positioned between the circles as she wound up and fired. “I didn’t look at the net. I figured something was going to happen.”
MacInnis looked very much as if she had won a lottery of some kind. But luck had little to do with it: She had responded to the biggest opportunity of her career by making her greatest play.
“I was really nervous,” MacInnis said. “I’ve never played that many minutes in a game.”
The Huskies, who were upset by BU in the opening Beanpot round one year ago, had beaten the Terriers three times this season. Those experiences spilled over into a highly physical showdown between these Top 10 programs situated 2.4 miles apart. The raucous support by the Women’s Beanpot record audience of 1,790 at BU’s Walter Brown Arena contributed to the fraught tension of a game that see-sawed to its prophesied and yet unforeseeable climax.
“I’m pretty sure you witnessed a classic hockey game there,” acknowledged BU coach Brian Durocher.
In spite of its recent drought, Northeastern ranks No. 1 with 17 Women’s Beanpot titles overall. The Huskies (25-3-2) have extended their undefeated streak to 11 games (this result goes down officially as a tie per NCAA rules), they’ve already wrapped up the Hockey East regular season title, and their No. 4 national ranking in the PairWise standings is positioning them for a run at the NCAA Frozen Four—which will be held in Boston next month.
All of that success was validated by this championship, which Aurard and Frankel dedicated to the Huskies’ four seniors. It figures to help launch them toward their ultimate aim of a national title.
But they were threatened all night by the Terriers (20-6-4), who were No. 9 in the PairWise national rankings. BU, the defending Beanpot champions, upset Northeastern in the opening round of the tournament one year ago. The Terriers picked up from that result Tuesday when junior forward Kristina Schuler exploited a turnover by Brooke Hobson—in her second game back for the Huskies after missing eight with an injury—for a shorthanded breakaway goal and a 1-0 BU lead in the fifth minute of play.
Nearing the end of the period, Aurard returned the favor. The sophomore turned a steal into a transition goal, her 19th of the season, enabling the Huskies to enter the first intermission even at 1-1. Aurard scored again in the second period—her third straight Beanpot goal, including an empty-netter in a 3-1 semifinal win against Harvard one week earlier—which gave the Huskies hope of building upon their 2-1 lead.
Instead, a scramble in front of the Terriers’ goal gave way to a scuffle that felled BU senior defender Breanna Scarpaci. She was penalized two minutes for cross-checking, while Fontaine received five minutes for contact-to-the-head roughing and an ejection for game misconduct.
The brunt of it, after Scarpaci’s time had been served, was that the Huskies were facing a three-minute penalty kill. In the second minute, BU’s Abby Cook threaded a scorching slap shot past two teammates who shielded Frankel for the equalizer—a rare goal against the Northeastern penalty kill, which ranks among the best in the U.S.
Six minutes into the third period, the Huskies at long last converted a power play of their own when Jess Schryver was assisted by Alina Mueller and Aurard. And so they were on their way, apparently. Their supporters were counting down the final seconds, assured that the history of late Monday night could never be repeated, when BU made the most of its extra skater with a dramatic told-you-so goal by Sammy Davis with 22.8 seconds remaining.
“We got a little too jacked up at times,” Flint said of the emotional 28-hour journey that these two schools had covered from one side of Boston to the other. “But when they scored, we didn’t let that deflate us. We didn’t get too low.”
And when they won?
The celebration was all their own.