Sports, Women's Hockey, Hockey

Notebook: Levy, Defenders’ Offensive Output Key in BC’s Beanpot Semifinal Win

In the 48th all-time meeting between Boston College women’s hockey and Harvard on Tuesday night, the Eagles looked to change the narrative of the Women’s Beanpot after suffering a heartbreaking 5–4 loss to the Crimson in the tournament’s title game the year prior.  

Just a year ago, BC goaltender Abigail Levy led the way for the Eagles with 50 saves—and captured the Bertagna Award for the top goaltender in the tournament—allowing BC to come from behind to tie the game on multiple occasions. But this year, the Eagles came away with a 3–0 victory after taking an early lead, sending them to the title game for the second year in a row. 

Here are three observations from the win. 

Blueliners Stepping Up Their Offense

Similar to last year—when defender Alexie Guay carried the Eagles in the 2022 Beanpot semifinals against then-No. 3 Northeastern with two goals—defenders stepped up for BC against Harvard on Tuesday, scoring all three goals. 

Captain Cayla Barnes continued to show her importance—and improvement—on the ice, opening the scoring only 3:14 into the first period. Barnes’ goal was the 20th of her career, as she moved into solo possession of sixth place in program history in scoring by a defender. Her one goal and one assist also contributed to Barnes recording her 15th career multi-point game. 

Even though shots weren’t falling for BC’s top forwards Hannah Bilka and Abby Newhook—who led the team with seven and four shots, respectively—the Eagles were able to score because of the contributions of their defense. 

Keri Clougherty and Sidney Fess both scored their first goals of the season to extend the Eagles’ lead. Barnes recorded an assist on Fess’ goal to cap off a dominant two-point performance.

Levy Heroics, Again

Levy was pivotal in the shutout victory, carrying the Eagles through rough patches of the game like she has all season. She registered 30 total saves, notching her second straight shutout after an impressive performance against Providence on Feb. 3 in which BC won by the same 3–0 scoreline. 

Early in the game, as the Eagles tried to get their footing, Harvard threatened in front of the net several times. Levy helped set the tone by keeping the puck out of the net, allowing BC to get settled in the game as she built up a brick wall. 

The Crimson looked dangerous late in the game as well, as it continued to put pressure on the Eagles despite staring down a three-goal deficit. Levy accumulated 15 saves in the third period, including stops in the last few minutes of regulation when BC was constantly on its heels as Harvard played up an extra skater after pulling its goaltender.  

Levy’s shutout was her fifth of the season, and she now ranks fourth all time in program history with eight shutouts on the Heights. Levy and backup netminder Grace Campbell have now combined for back-to-back shutouts for the Eagles for the first time since 2016. Levy’s shutout additionally marked the first shutout for BC in the Women’s Beanpot since a 7–0 shutout of Northeastern in the 2016 Women’s Beanpot Championship on Feb. 9, 2016. 

On Feb. 6, Levy was tabbed Hockey East goaltender of the week, and was named a semifinalist for National Goalie of the Year Award on Feb. 2. Signs show that she hasn’t slowed down since The Heights named Levy BC’s Female Athlete of the Year in the 2021–22 season, and her play will be crucial to the Eagles’ chances down the stretch. 

Sloppy Play in the Defensive Zone

Despite the final scoreline, the Eagles struggled for stretches of the game due to their lack of defensive tenacity. 

BC gave up plenty of chances to Harvard both early and late in the game and were missing the same intensity it has displayed in other games of the season, such as its 3–2 loss to Vermont on Jan. 27.

Even though BC’s defense flipped the switch in offensive production, it was careless at times and allowed Harvard to creep right to the front of the net. Levy held the shutout, but the lapses in defense made her life more difficult than it had to be.

February 9, 2023