Boston College seemed to have plenty of advantages as three-time defending champion in the 42nd Women’s Beanpot. But Harvard capitalized on home ice, a hot goalie, and the finishing ability of the daughter of a former BC football star to take a 4-1 victory over the Eagles on Tuesday night.
The Crimson (8-11-3) reached the final for the first time since 2015, and will meet Boston University (15-6-7), a shootout winner over Northeastern, next Tuesday.
But Harvard had to be resourceful. Lindsay Reed (52 saves) stymied the Eagles (19-10-0) after a late first-period goal. And the Crimson were able to rally, despite being outshot, 53-26.
Sophomore Brooke Jovanovich, whose father, Mike, a former Eagles’ and CFL lineman who was in the Bright Arena stands, scored twice for the Crimson.
“This has always been something he’s always emphasized and always really been excited for,” Jovanovich, an Oakville, Ontario, resident, said of her father. “It’s nice to have him cheering for Harvard. It’s just awesome and really cool and I think it’s really awesome for the kids who are from the area, like who have grown up with this. And coming here you really understand how important it is and how awesome it is to play for a championship in February.”
Though Harvard is the only team in the tournament with a losing record this season, all four entered the event on a positive note. BU had an eight-game (7-0-1) unbeaten streak, BC (six-game), and Northeastern (five-game) had winning streaks, and Harvard was unbeaten (2-0-1) in three games.
BU recovered from 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 deficits against the No. 3-ranked Huskies (20-3-4), winning on Reagan Rust’s shootout goal.
Here?s Reagan Rust proving once and for all that shootouts are fun and awesome!! pic.twitter.com/9Ol5yyN8oc— BU Women's Hockey (@TerrierWHockey) February 6, 2019
“We’ve been up and down and all around this year,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “We’re in the stage of the season where it’s playoff hockey and the kids know it and there’s a sense of urgency that we have, and we’ve been showing it recently. And the more we get kids back in the lineup the better we are. And I think everyone understands they’ve got to come to play as hard as they can together for the remainder of the season and make something happen, and tonight was another example of when you do that what can happen.”
BC opened the scoring as Makenna Newkirk redirected a Daryl Watts drive at 19:18 of the opening period, her 10th goal of the season.
Harvard was outshot, 19-6, in the first and second periods, but scored twice in the second and took a 3-1 lead just nine seconds into the final period.
Jovanovich equalized on a breakout at 8:10 and Dominique Petrie broke the deadlock with her fifth goal of the season, a finish from point-blank range at 13:34 of the second. Then, Lexie Laing scored her seventh goal of the season, a low shot from the right circle going through Maddy McArthur’s pads off a third period faceoff.
The Crimson squandered a chance to extend the edge as freshman Kristin Della Rovere’s penalty shot was stopped by McArthur at 12:45. Jovanovich’s second goal of the contest made it 4-1.
BU recovered as freshman Mackenna Parker scored her 10th goal of the season, Sammy Davis her 19th, and Jesse Compher her 15th.
Northeastern opened the scoring as sophomore Skylar Fontaine converted her seventh goal of the season, finishing a rebound at the back post off a Mia Brown shot from the right circle at 10:28 of the opening period. After Parker equalized, Veronika Pettey’s power play gave NU a 2-1 edge at 6:50 of the second. Davis tied the score, 2-2, at 11:10, then the Huskies appeared to take command as Alina Mueller made it 3-2 just 17 seconds into the third. Compher converted a spectacular breakaway, roofing a shot at 2:12.
“I thought our best period was the first period,” BU coach Brian Durocher said. “We played really well, it maybe could’ve been 2-0 for BU but it’s 1-nothing for Northeastern. I emphasized that we just have to keep it the way we’re going.”