To open up the 37th annual women’s Beanpot Tournament, No. 4/5 Harvard will play host to the No. 6/7 Boston University women’s hockey team at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center Tuesday.
The two teams have met 18 previous times in the history of the tournament, and six times since the Terriers (17-6-2, 12-4 Hockey East) became a Division I program 10 years ago. The Crimson (15-4-2) hold an astounding 16-2 advantage over the Terriers, 5-1 in the last 10 years. Harvard bested BU 3-2 in overtime of the 2014 consolation game a year ago, and the Terriers last beat the Crimson in the 2012 semifinal by a score of 5-2. BU lost to Northeastern 4-3 in overtime of the final that year, though. Despite the unfortunate history, BU coach Brian Durocher said his team is ready for their next opportunity to play in this event.
“They’re excited, and they’re probably a little nervous,” Durocher said. “The Beanpot, unfortunately, hasn’t been very kind to us. We’ve had some pretty good teams the past four or five years, and we haven’t been able to get the trophy. The last time we got real close was in our rink two years ago, and we played a pretty solid game, but right after we got the lead, there was a deflection that went in our net that tied it, and Northeastern won in overtime.
“Our kids will be ready to play. You don’t want them to be too excited. We want them to be working hard, and hopefully they’ll bring both the thinking part of it but also the legs and the compete and the intensity throughout the game.”
The two teams skated to a 1-1 tie in a previous meeting this season on Nov. 21, 2014 at Walter Brown Arena, with both goals coming on the man-advantage. Miye D’Oench opened the scoring for the Crimson just over 12 minutes into that contest, and that would be all sophomore goaltender Victoria Hanson allowed. Hanson was forced to make just 16 saves while her team put 35 shots on net and only scored once. Sophomore winger Samantha Sutherland scored for the Terriers in the middle of the second period, but Harvard goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer shut the door from there on out, including 11 third-period saves.
“I was a little bit surprised that, territorially, we controlled the game as much as we did,” Durocher said. “We pretty much outshot them two to one in that game, and I don’t expect that tomorrow because they’re a good a team, and they just didn’t have their night, and we played very well.”
Since then, the Terriers have gone 9-3 over the past two months while the Crimson have gone 13-3, including a stretch of 10 wins in a row. Harvard defenseman Josephine Pucci, who missed the earlier meeting with the BU, has since returned to the lineup and will be a strong force on the back end for the Crimson. Pucci, a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, missed time for a concussion and her participation in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Since her return to action on Jan. 2, Pucci has scored two goals and added five assists, and she boasts a plus-12 rating in 11 games played. Durocher said the return of Pucci bodes well for the Crimson, and he is anticipating a tight contest Tuesday.
“That’s a huge uptick for them,” Durocher said of the presence of Pucci. “I expect it to be, territorially, a much closer game and probably a one-goal game, one way or the other.”