While the consolation game of the Beanpot is not a familiar place for Boston College women’s hockey, the Eagles have always handled themselves well when they find themselves in such a position. Coming into Tuesday, BC had a record of 9-0-1 in the tournament’s consolation match.
The Eagles (15-12-3, 13-9-2 Hockey East) maintained their unbeaten record in the third-place game, comfortably toppling Harvard (13-11-1, 12-5-1 ECAC) 3-1 despite being outshot by a 37-25 margin.
BC picked up its first goal midway through the first period. Playing a man up after Crimson forward Dominique Petrie picked up a tripping penalty, Kelly Browne passed to Alexie Guay in the slot, who deked past a Harvard defender and fired into the top of the net.
Despite the 1-0 margin, BC was lucky to finish the first period with the lead. Harvard largely set the pace, shooting on target 11 times to BC’s eight and winning 14 of the 21 face-offs in the first frame.
Harvard had plenty more chances in the second period and again failed to convert. The Crimson started the period on a power play after Savannah Norcross was sent to the box, but Eagles goalie Kelly Pickreign never wavered.
BC mustered another penalty kill later in the period when Lindsay Agnew was sent off for cross-checking. Pickreign was only threatened once during the two minutes, and the Eagles cleared their lines well to prevent a score while a man down.
Pickreign, who has normally been the backup goalie this season, was spectacular all night for the Eagles, racking up 36 saves. Her play was exemplary, particularly in the second quarter. She made a pair of impressive glove saves early in the period and turned away a strong shot from Kristin Della Rovere to maintain BC’s lead after the Crimson forward sliced through two BC defenders.
As BC’s defense struggled to keep Harvard out of the zone, the Eagles’ attack turned in a spectacular performance in the second period. With 16:26 to play in the frame, Cayla Barnes played a pass off the boards to Delaney Belinskas, who turned and found herself on a two-on-one break. When a Crimson defender moved to cover Norcross, Belinskas took her opportunity on goal and converted the Eagles’ second tally.
But the triumph didn’t stop there, and the Eagles had even more good fortune later in the period. When Hadley Hartmetz rocketed a shot from near the blue line, the puck ricocheted off Hannah Bilka’s skate and past a helpless Beth Larcom in the Crimson goal.
BC’s three-goal output is a good sign for an offense that has struggled as of late. While the Eagles still average 2.8 goals per game, a mark that ranks third among Hockey East teams, BC had been shut out in its last two games.
Harvard finally broke through in the third period. Starting deep in her own zone, Della Rovere charged through the Eagles defense and laid it off to Anne Bloomer. Bloomer passed it right back to Della Rovere for an easy finish, and the Crimson broke the shutout.
Harvard continued to apply pressure on the Eagles throughout the period, shooting on Pickreign 14 times. Eight of the attempts came in the last two minutes, and much of the game’s final minutes were spent in a desperate scramble in front of BC’s net. Pickreign stayed strong, and the Eagles emerged with a hard-fought victory.
Despite the win, a third-place Beanpot finish is slim consolation to a program that has become accustomed to competing in the final of the tournament. BC won three straight Beanpots between 2016 and 2018 and, last year aside, had not played in the consolation game since 2012. The 2019-2020 stretch is the first time the Eagles have failed to make the final in back-to-back years since the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor