The puck hits net and pandemonium ensues.
Boston University skaters, one after the other, sprint across the ice to join the mob of celebrating Terriers down by the Harvard net. They’re jumping, and jumping, and jumping, now falling into a pile, overcome by the joy of an overtime win that clinched a Women’s Beanpot title Tuesday.
None of them were alive the last time a group of Terriers accomplished this feat. That came in 1981, just the third Women’s Beanpot. But this 3-2 victory means the nearly four-decade drought is over. The five runner-up finishes since that championship, one as recent as last season’s overtime defeat against Boston College, sting a little less.
THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!! pic.twitter.com/TgVldDtdPI— BU Women's Hockey (@TerrierWHockey) February 13, 2019
And with this momentum the seventh-ranked Terriers can set their sights on loftier ambitions.
Boston has never won a National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. Coach Brian Durocher and the Terriers came close with runner-up finishes in 2011, a 4-1 loss against Wisconsin, and 2013, a 6-3 loss against Minnesota. But neither of those runs came off the heels of a Beanpot championship.
The 2011 run followed a loss and tie in the Beanpot and the finals of the remaining regular season and postseason competitions included as many wins as they did losses. The 2013 run started after a Beanpot consolation victory, an 11-game winning streak that included a Hockey East tournament title ending only with that three-goal defeat against Minnesota. This is different.
Boston (17-6-7) is on an 11-game unbeaten streak that’s seen the Terriers win nine times, tie once and win through a shootout. It has four regular season games left split between three teams — New Hampshire (13-14-4), UConn (14-14-3) and Providence (19-9-2) — it’s a combined 4-0-1 against to this point. The Terriers may not be able to catch the No. 3 Northeastern Huskies (21-4-4) for the Hockey East regular season title, but they did advance past them in the Beanpot semifinal through that shootout and overcome what had been an 0-2-1 record against Northeastern in three previous meetings.
Five different former Beanpot champions have finished as national runner-ups since the first championship in 2001. There was Harvard’s run of three-straight appearances and losses from 2003-05. There was Harvard again in 2015. And there was Boston College in 2016.
The Terriers could be the first team to ride this wave of momentum to a championship. If it comes against Minnesota, they could both avenge the 2013 title game and also become the first Beanpot champion to beat the Gophers in that setting. Minnesota (25-4-1), ranked first in the country this season, is 4-0 in such games.
Boston has outscored opponents by a combined score of 52-21 on its current unbeaten streak, an average scoring margin of more than two goals per game. It’s scored as many as seven goals three times and allowed as little as zero — meaning its defense has remained consistent with how it’s played this season as its offense has stepped up production.
Sammy Davis is one of the nation’s most prolific scorers with 22 goals this season. She’s the one who netted the overtime goal against Harvard (10-12-3) to clinch the Beanpot. Teammate Jesse Compher, who set up Davis’ game-winning chance, is one of the country’s best at dishing out assists. She has 35.
And there’s a deep team behind them.
“Winning in a big game, a big stage, is super-important,” Durocher told BU Today after the game. “Now these kids get a taste of winning something big … the confidence is the biggest thing that goes forward.”
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