Down 2-0 with 57 seconds remaining in Tuesday’s (Feb. 14) Beanpot championship bout versus Boston College at Bright Hockey Center, the Crimson’s Jennifer Sifers ’07 was whistled for roughing. Specifically, she was called for bowling over Eagle goaltender Alison Quandt while in pursuit of the puck. Though hardly a cheap shot, Sifer’s overzealous efforts reflected the frustration and desperation of a player on the verge of losing her first ‘Pot title in a Harvard uniform. And for the program as a whole – being denied a tournament-tying record of eight straight seasons as Boston’s best.
Ultimately hanging on to their two-goal lead over the final minute, that lucky label suddenly became truth for the Chestnut Hill gang, who effectively shut out (and down) the perennial favorites with superior puck control and movement. The reward for B.C.’s nervy play: its first Beanpot championship in the tourney’s 28-year history. Meanwhile, Harvard – most certainly longing for the firepower afforded by a trio of Torino Olympians in Julie Chu ’06-07 and Caitlin Cahow ’07-08 of Team USA, and Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09 of Team Canada – dropped its first game to the Eagles since the 1996-97 season, falling to 12-9-4 on the year.
The Eagles wasted little time setting the pace for the evening, tallying their opening goal a mere 37 seconds into the first period courtesy of their leading scorer, center Deborah Spillane. Named tournament MVP shortly following the contest, Spillane struck again at 17:22 of the middle period on a breakaway, scooping the puck high into the net past Ali Boe ’06 to set up the 2-0 lead.
Between the pipes, Quandt – who was named the Bertagna Award winner for her role as the tournament’s outstanding goaltender – collected 23 saves against the hosts (one more than her counterpart Boe). Among Quandt’s more impressive stops: the denial of a lone Crimson breakaway in the second period. Meanwhile, on the offensive end, B.C. and Harvard posted near identical numbers, firing 24 and 23 shots, respectively. Neither team was able to convert on any of the game’s 11 power-play opportunities.
The runner-up Crimson, ranked No. 10 nationally (at press time), resume ECAC play against Cornell (8-16-0, 4-14-0 ECACHL) on Friday (Feb. 17) at Bright Hockey Center.
In men’s consolation action on Monday evening (Feb. 13) at the Garden, Harvard thumped the struggling Northeastern Huskies, 5-0. The victory ends a losing streak for the Crimson in Beanpot play dating back to 2003, and marks head coach Ted Donato’s first taste of ‘Pot triumph.
In the title game, No. 5 Boston University tallied a third-period goal to edge No. 4 B.C., 3-2, handing the Terriers their second straight ‘Pot championship. BU now owns 27 all-time titles – more than twice as many as the next closest competitor, B.C.
Harvard’s latest win improves the club to 14-9-2 overall (10-7-1 ECACHL). The team resumes play Friday (Feb. 17) at Colgate (15-9-6, 11-5-2 ECACHL). Visit http://www.gocrimson.com for Harvard scores and updates.