“Thank you, Alex!” Clap, clap, clap clap clap. “Thank you, Alex!”
A cheer rang out from the cramped red stands of Harvard University’s intimate Bright-Landry Hockey Center. It was directed at Alex Carpenter, Boston College superstar and United States Olympian. As the best player on the best team in the country, she is used to the spotlight. She was made to thrive in big games like the Beanpot championship. Hearing adoring fans call out her name is nothing out of the ordinary.
But this cheer did not come from BC supporters—the noise came from the corner of the stands where, laughing and pointing, sat the Harvard pep band.
Alex Carpenter was on the other side of the ice, opposite her team’s bench, sitting alone and hunched over in the small glass enclosure at center-ice. She was serving a five-minute major penalty for body checking, left to watch helplessly as Crimson forward Miye D’Oench tucked in an eventual game-winning goal just seconds into the power play.
Carpenter could do nothing but watch. The Crimson (19-4-2, 14-3-1 ECAC) used this score and a herculean effort from goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer to hand the Eagles (27-1-1, 18-0-0 Hockey East) their first loss of the season by a score of 3-2.
Elation, then dejection, then desolation, all in a span of less than three minutes.
Locked in a 1-1 draw just over 11 minutes into the second period, BC forward Haley Skarupa intercepted a Harvard pass in the offensive zone. She moved to her left, gathered the puck, set one up and let it rip, beating Maschmeyer low to her stick side. The Eagles regained control and looked poised to continue throttling the Crimson.
But just over a minute later, Harvard responded, as it did following every major turning point for the Eagles. Mary Parker found an open Lexie Laing in the corner, who found an also open Karly Heffernan right in front of the net, who found an opening behind goaltender Katie Burt and slid the puck into the twine backhanded. The Eagles blew their defensive assignments, and the Crimson made them pay.
Shortly following that, Carpenter gave Kalley Armstrong a little extra shove along the side boards—a great hit in men’s hockey, a terrible mistake in women’s. The referees congregated, and after a discussion they handed down their verdict—the death penalty for BC. Carpenter received a five-minute major, which BC head coach Katie Crowley admitted stung the Eagles.
“We were confident in our penalty kill, but it’s tough,” Crowley said. “Especially when Carpenter gets a five-minute major, and I’m not sure she’s had five penalties all year. I don’t think she sits on the bench for five minutes at any point in the season.”
While losing its 28-game unbeaten streak and a chance at a Beanpot title will hurt for a while, Crowley made it clear that the season has not ended yet.
“Learning what a loss feels like can be valuable, and I hope it helps us,” she said. “I hope it helps us in the future.”
Harvard couldn’t win without a standout performance from Maschmeyer, who was named Goaltender of the Tournament and Tournament MVP by members of the media.
Despite falling behind early on a quick goal from the red-hot Andie Anastos, Maschmeyer remained calm and essentially shut down the Eagles for the rest of the game. She made 32 saves in the contest and did something that no one else in college hockey has been able to do: outduel BC’s freshman standout Burt.
Maschmeyer didn’t consider the fact that she was going against the best goalie in women’s hockey, though. She said that she prepares for everyone the same way.
“It doesn’t matter who I’m going up against—for me, I going into every game saying, ‘I’m going to win this battle,’” she said. “I know I have to outplay the other goalie to win, no matter who it is.”
Despite the disappointment, the Eagles know that Beanpot is not the end of the season. There are still more regular season games to be played, followed by the Hockey East tournament, which precedes the NCAA championships at the University of Minnesota.
The record-setting streak is over and the tournament loss will sting, but BC will charge on. Carpenter & Co. have not finished writing their chapter in the BC hockey history book. There is more hockey to be played, more wins to be had, and more records to be set.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor