No. 3 Huskies are upset 3-1 by Boston College in Women’s Beanpot

Northeastern's Mia Brown challenges Boston College goalie Abigail Levy at the semifinal of the Women's Beanpot.
Boston College goalie Abigail Levy repeatedly fended off challenges like this one from Mia Brown as the defending champion Huskies were upset in a Beanpot semifinal Tuesday at Matthews Arena. 3-1 Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The greater ambition of a national championship remains on the horizon for the Huskies. But the 3-1 loss they suffered to Boston College in the Women’s Beanpot semifinal Tuesday is going to hurt for a long while.

The No. 3 Huskies (21-4-1) were trying to defend their 2020 title (last year’s Beanpot having been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic) on the home ice of Matthews Arena. Instead, they find themselves in the midst of a two-game losing streak with a Beanpot consolation game to prepare for next Tuesday at Matthews against Boston University, a 4-1 semifinal loser to Harvard.

The visiting Eagles (15-11-0) made the most of two goals from junior defenseman Alexie Guay and an astounding 49 saves by Abigail Levy, a former high school teammate of Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel. Levy spent the first and third periods listening to the DogHouse trying to wear her down from the upper balcony behind her.

“What really helped me was the crowd was screaming my last name wrong,” said Levy, which, for future reference, is pronounced with a long ‘e.’

An Abby Newhook empty-netter with 27 seconds left clinched the upset for BC.

Trailing 1-0 from the 15th minute, the frantic Huskies finally equalized when Chloé Aurard finished a Peyton Anderson cross with 12:25 to go. But the momentum was snuffed out 90 seconds later when Guay redirected a power-play slap shot past the right shoulder of Frankel, the nation’s leading goaltender and reigning national player of the year.

The Huskies have won a record 17 Women’s Beanpot titles. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

“We have to give her a little better support,” Huskies coach Dave Flint said of Frankel, who has allowed four goals in the past two games.

This was the most important test of the season for the Huskies, who are aiming for the ultimate prize of a national title in March after losing the NCAA title game in overtime last year. They were coming off a surprising 2-1 loss four nights earlier to Vermont that snuffed out a 20-game unbeaten streak and cost them their No. 1 national ranking. 

“We thought we played well enough to win,” said Flint, who referred to BC as the best opponent Northeastern has faced this year. “Our last two games, we’ve scored two goals on 85 shots. We’ve got to find a way to put the puck in the net.”

The Huskies lead the nation with 28 power-play goals but wasted three BC penalties, including a brief two-player advantage in the final period that ended prematurely when Northeastern committed a penalty of its own. The Eagles were outshot 50-25 overall.

BC, hoping for its first Beanpot title since 2018, had been on its heels for most of the opening period when Guay suddenly worked her way in through a left-side hole in the Northeastern defense and beat Frankel high from the circle for the opening goal.

The frustrated Huskies responded by relentlessly pelting shots of all varieties at Levy, who came in averaging 36 saves per game this season—a total she equaled in 29 intense minutes. By the start of the final period, the Huskies had forced 41 saves and a dozen blocks from BC and had nothing to show for any of it.

Senior forward Alina Mueller was in Beijing preparing for the Winter Olympics with Switzerland. With 98 seconds remaining, Frankel, Northeastern’s other leading star, was skating to the bench to create a player advantage that, like everything else in this game, turned against the Huskies despite the tremendous support they received with the return of fans to Matthews.

“I don’t want us to get too frustrated,” said Flint. “The Beanpot can catapult you if you win it. It can also light a fire under you a little bit, too.”

That will be the ambition now. The Huskies will be focused on remembering how this loss feels with a determination to not feel this way again.

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