Tuesday evening’s rivalry game for the Boston University women’s hockey team is not just another faceoff against No. 7 Boston College. It is the kickoff for the 36th annual Beanpot Tournament and a chance for BU coach Brian Durocher and his team to capture the program’s first-ever Beanpot championship in its ninth season of existence.
The Terriers (18-8-1, 11-5 Hockey East) head into Conte Forum on a high note after snapping their four-game losing streak with two wins over the University of Connecticut. BU, which recently fell out of the USCHO top-10 poll, looks to continue its success against the Eagles (19-4-3, 14-1-1 Hockey East).
“We’re going to be facing a team that is a little bit quicker, a little bit faster, a couple of more high end players,” Durocher said of BC. “The game has a funny way of being pretty similar most nights, and if you aren’t running and gunning or if you’re mentally soft, there is a good chance that things aren’t going to go your way.”
BC, the highest nationally ranked team in the tournament, is the favorite to capture their sixth Beanpot tournament win. Forward Haley Skarupa leads an Eagles team that is riding a five-game winning streak and has not dropped a match since visiting Cornell University back in late in November.
Skarupa has 14 goals and 12 assists, strong enough numbers to be first on the team in points, despite missing four games throughout the course of the season. The Eagles also feature a solid netminder in goalie Corinne Boyles who currently sports a .937 save percentage, sixth-best in the nation.
Heading into Chesnut Hill will not be an easy task for Terriers, as the Eagles currently sport a 12-1-1 record in at Kelley Rink. The Terriers, on the other hand, have posted an 8-5-1 record away from Walter Brown Arena.
Durocher said he believes that the team’s mindset does not change heading into the Beanpot.
“If you play with discipline, if you play with fight, you create a couple of bounces and score enough timely goals to win 2-1 or 3-2,” Durocher said. “That’s really what this game is like when you get in these big games, get into these playoff situations. It’s not going to be 7-6 very often.”
Senior captain Louise Warren had a stellar weekend heading into the tournament opener, tallying four points against the Huskies (7-19-2, 4-10-1 Hockey East), including a hat trick in the second game of the two-game series. Overall for the year, the Ontario native has posted 20 goals and 34 points, good for second on the team in both categories. The captain said she is looking forward to competing in her final Beanpot.
“[Wins mean] a lot,” Warren said. “We really need to have this momentum so hopefully we continue it.”
The Terriers struggled in last year’s edition of the tournament, dropping their first round matchup against Northeastern University by a score of 4-1. The Terriers last reached the Beanpot final in 2012, losing to the Huskies (12-12-2, 8-6-2 Hockey East) by a 4-3 margin in overtime.
Following their first prolonged losing streak of the season, Warren said the Terriers have what it takes to make a run at their first Beanpot title.
“It’s about not getting too stressed out,” Warren said. “Just playing our game, playing simple, everyone doing their role and I think we’ll be okay … The Beanpot is always huge and we haven’t had the best luck with it in the past so we’re hoping we can step up this year.
“I’ve never won a Beanpot and it means so much to this school and this program if we can pull on out this year. It would mean a lot to these seniors. It’s a big one.”