BOSTON, Mass. — Prior to Tuesday night, Boston College women’s hockey had played Northeastern three times this season. In those three games, the Huskies outscored the Eagles 12–2.
When BC (15–11, 12–8 Hockey East) and No. 3 Northeastern (21–4–1, 16–3–1) took the ice in Tuesday’s Beanpot semifinal, however, BC seemed determined to keep its four-game win streak alive.
BC goaltender Abigail Levy set the tone, and Alexie Guay did the rest. BC led 1–0 after one period, and when the final buzzer rang, the Eagles flooded onto the ice to swarm Levy in celebration of their 3–1 win.
Levy-ing It All on The Ice
Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel is one of the best at her position in the NCAA. She leads the nation with a .958 save percentage and has allowed just 20 goals. One category Frankel does not lead the country in, however, is saves.
Levy, with 864 saves on the season—133 more than the runner up—dominates the stat category, and she has faced more shots than any other goaltender in the NCAA.
Tuesday’s Beanpot semifinal was not Levy and Frankel’s first time taking the ice together. The duo date back further than their careers in Boston to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. Levy and Frankel skated together, winning three national championships during their high school careers, both establishing themselves as standout goalies.
After losing to Frankel and the Huskies three times this season, Levy seemed determined to change the narrative Tuesday. In the first period, Northeastern took 24 shots on goal to BC’s five. Thanks to Levy’s work in front of the net, however, BC entered the break with a 1–0 lead.
Levy’s dominance continued throughout the rest of the game, and while she ultimately surrendered a goal to Northeastern’s Chloé Aurard in the third period, her season-high 49 saves were more than enough to send BC to the Beanpot final.
Defenders Win Championships
With Levy taking care of things defensively, the key to BC’s win was its ability to score goals on Frankel. In three games against the Huskies prior to the Beanpot, the Eagles had only beat Frankel twice.
Guay matched that total herself on Tuesday night.
Her first goal came unassisted with 5:19 to play in the first period. Guay’s goal put BC ahead 1–0, where it remained until Aurard’s third-period goal tied the game. Guay ensured that the game would not remain tied for long, though. Under two minutes after Aurard’s goal, Guay snuck another puck past Frankel off assists by Kelly Browne and Abby Newhook. The Eagles went on to score one more goal at the end of the third period on an empty netter, but it was Guay’s offensive contribution that gave BC the edge.
Two-goal games are the exception rather than the norm for Guay. She is a defender with just five goals on the season and 13 throughout her career at BC, and Tuesday’s game was her first-ever multi-goal outing. Guay leads BC defenders in goals, assists, and shots this season.
On the defensive side of the puck, Guay recorded three blocks to add to her team-leading 42 this season.
The Beanpot has been a Boston fan favorite since the women’s tournament began 43 years ago and the men’s tournament 26 years before that.
The Northeastern student section was packed full of students cheering on the Huskies, and a handful of BC fans made the trip across town as well. Perhaps the loudest BC supporters, however, were a girl’s youth hockey team sitting directly behind the BC bench cheering for the Eagles’ every move.
A rowdy fan base can add pressure, but it can also motivate players to step up and perform at their best. In Tuesday’s game, it appeared to do the latter. BC played one of its best games of the season on its biggest stage of the season and never appeared to crack under pressure.
After the game, Levy commented on the Northeastern fan turnout. She noticed their presence, but claimed that their attempts to distract her were compromised by their mispronunciation of her last name.
Just as Levy was unphased by Northeastern’s taunting, the rest of the Eagles were unaffected by the present Northeastern fanbase chanting insults down onto the ice. Fans showed up in full force and stayed to the bitter end.
Featured Image by Chris Ticas / Heights Staff