Twenty-seven years after the Beanpot made its first appearance in 1952, the Women’s Beanpot was introduced, and since then, the annual tournament has woven itself into the fabric of women’s college hockey.
On March 16, 1979, Boston College women’s hockey defeated rival Boston University 4–1 in the semifinal, but fell to Northeastern 3–1 one day later in the inaugural Women’s Beanpot Championship. Since then, college hockey has witnessed tightly contested battles and chippy, rivalry matchups between the four crosstown foes.
The last time BC hosted the Beanpot was in 2018, and a 4–3 overtime victory against the Terriers sealed a third-straight championship victory for the Eagles. BC has yet to win another Women’s Beanpot since, but lost to Harvard 5–4 in the championship last year.
The Eagles—led by BC head coach Katie Crowley, who entered her 16th season in 2022—have had a hot-and-cold start to the season. After sprinting to a 6–3–1 record through 10 games, BC dropped four consecutive contests, and then captured seven consecutive wins before losing to Northeastern in overtime on Jan. 13. The Eagles rebounded with a 3–0 decision over Holy Cross, but have gone 2–4 in its last six games.
Captains Cayla Barnes and Hannah Bilka will look to navigate the team’s inconsistencies to string together a couple of wins ahead of postseason play and bring the Beanpot trophy back to Conte Forum.
Who is BC Playing?
When is BC Playing?
Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Where is BC Playing?
Kelley Rink at Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to Watch
The game will be streamed live on NESN.
Tournament and Series History:
BC will host this season’s tournament at Conte Forum, and the first game of the doubleheader on Feb. 7 will feature BU and Northeastern at 4 p.m. Harvard will then square off against the Eagles at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s championship, and the winners will go head-to-head in the 44th Women’s Beanpot Championship the following Tuesday at 4 p.m.
For the first time since 2015, Harvard brought the Beanpot trophy back to Cambridge after quieting the Eagles in the 2022 Women’s Beanpot Championship. Becca Gilmore’s game-winning goal with less than four minutes left to play put Harvard out ahead despite the contest being neck and neck for the majority of the game. Abby Newhook netted her 16th goal of the season to knot the game at four with seven minutes left on the clock, but it left enough time for the Crimson to overcome BC’s resiliency.
In Women’s Beanpot history, BC has claimed 10 of the 22 total Bertagna Awards—handed out to the top goaltender in the tournament—while Harvard boasts six of those finishers. Abigail Levy won the award in 2022. BC has captured eight MVP awards in the history of the tournament, while the Crimson have captured 14. Gilmore was last tournament’s winner.
Most recently, the Eagles handed Harvard a 5–1 loss on Nov. 22, 2022, and have historically had the upper leg in the series during Crowley’s tenure. Crowley is 14–8–1 against the Crimson all time.
What to Expect from Harvard:
Harvard took a steep turnaround from its 2021–22 season, in which the Crimson boasted a 22–10–1 record. So far this season, Harvard has dropped well below .500—it currently holds a record of 7–14–3.
Two bright sports for Harvard this season have been senior forwards Anne Bloomer and Kristin Della Rovere, who account for 40 of the Crimson’s 108 total points. The Crimson skate heavy in the offensive zone and have the ability to pile on shots, but haven’t glued in consistent goaltender play.
Alex Pellicci starts in Harvard’s crease—she’s played and started 24 games this year—but the Prior Lake, Minn. native has registered a 2.88 goals against average, which Bilka and Newhook will look to make quick work of.
The Crimson average just 1.8 goals per game while opponents have averaged 3.0 goals per game against them. Harvard’s power-play conversion percentage is .064, while BC’s is slightly higher at .077.
If the Eagles can capitalize on early shots and effective neutral zone play, this game can be decided shortly. Turnovers in the neutral zone will be crucial, and being able to knock the puck away from Harvard’s Bloomer and Della Rovere in transition will be paramount to stopping the Crimson’s breakouts.
Levy is as experienced as they come, and the biggest difference between the two rosters this year stands right in between the goalposts.
The Eagles can be an imposing team, and it’s only a matter of time before they break through for a massive run—one that lasts beyond a couple of games. The Beanpot is the place to start. If there are two players that are going to lead the run, it’ll be Barnes and Bilka. But as of late, it’s Newhook who’s turned the jets on. Surely an award beyond Hockey East Rookie of the Year is on the horizon for her, and the Beanpot is a conduit for Newhook to solidify herself as one of BC’s all-time greats.