Women’s Beanpot Battle Opens Tuesday at Harvard

Women's Beanpot Battle Opens Tuesday at Harvard While the first two Mondays in February are always allocated for the men's Beanpot tournament, the opening Tuesdays in February are reserved for the women.

Unlike the men's version, which is played annually at the TD Garden, the women's Beanpot rotates yearly between the four schools with this year's 32nd edition at Harvard.

It is currently one of the longest-standing women’s tournaments in all of college sports and is usually an event where the team’s hotshots turn up the heat and steal the show. 

Over the years we've seen some incredible talent hit the ice, with the likes of former Olympians Jennifer Botterill (Harvard), Shelley Looney (Northeastern) and Angela Ruggiero (Harvard) all delivering memorable Beanpot performances. While all of the teams' current national team players are preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver, we still expect an impressive tournament this year.

Historically, Harvard and Northeastern have dominated play, combining to win 26 of the 32 total women's Beanpot titles. Boston University and Boston College are surging onto the scene however, creating a more even Beanpot playing field. In fact, the Eagles will enter Tuesday night's opening contest as the defending champions.

Beanpot History
Harvard University (12-5-4, 9-5-2 ECAC Hockey)
The Crimson are the only non-Hockey East participants in the Beanpot and are looking to continue their recent dominance in the tournament. They sit second overall in Beanpot titles with 12, behind Northeastern’s 14 and have won eight of the last 11 tournaments, beating NU three times in the championship match (2000, 2001, 2004). The last time Harvard hosted the tournament was 2006, when the Crimson fell 2-0 to the Eagles in the final.

After finishing as runners-up to the Eagles in last year's championship match, they’re hoping that the home-ice advantage will work in their favor this time around. The Crimson are currently ranked No. 6 nationally, although they have not faced any of the other three Beanpot teams yet this season. Their last Beanpot title came in 2008 with a 3-1 victory over the Terriers in the final.

Boston College (5-13-9, 4-8-4-4 Hockey East)
The Eagles enter Tuesday's match as the defending champions after defeating Harvard 1-0 in last year's title game. Boston College has won three titles overall, all of which have come in the last four years, and they’ve reached the final game in four of the past five years. The Eagles have lost a couple of key team members this season due to Olympic duty as 2009 Beanpot MVP Kelli Stack and netminder Molly Schaus will both be representing Team USA later this month.

Boston University (10-8-9, 6-6-4-2 Hockey East)
The Terriers are looking for their first Beanpot title since 1981. Since then, BU has appeared in three Beanpot finals (1982, 2007, 2008), losing twice to Harvard and once to Boston College. Last year, the Terriers were downed by Harvard in the opening round by an 8-0 score but rebounded to win the consolation game 2-1 over Northeastern.

Northeastern University (16-5-4, 8-4-4-3 Hockey East)
Northeastern will enter this year’s Beanpot as the seventh-ranked team in the country. Although they hold the most all-time Beanpot titles with 14, they will be looking for just their first championship since 1998. The Huskies demonstrated their dominance in the early years of the tournament by winning the debut Beanpot match back in 1979 and by winning a record eight straight from 1984 to 1991.

Northeastern has not been to the final since 2004, when it suffered a 5-1 loss to Harvard. The Huskies will also be missing a key team member with the loss of goaltender Florence Schelling to the Swiss Olympic Team.

First-Round Matchups
Boston University vs. Northeastern
This will be the second matchup this season between the two squads after the Huskies earned a shootout victory over the Terriers on Jan. 26.

Boston College vs. Harvard
This will be the first contest this season between the teams.

Players to Watch
Kate Buesser and netminder Laura Bellamy will lead the way for the Crimson. Buesser leads Harvard with 26 points while Bellamy has been solid between the pipes with a 1.45 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

Allie Thunstrom
leads Boston College in scoring so far this season with 17 goals and six assists in 27 games. She's got a hot hand as well, with six goals and two helpers in her last six games. The Eagles will rely on her scoring ability if they are to progress to next week's championship game.

Northeastern's Kristi Kehoe has earned 23 points in 25 games played so far this season, leading the Huskies in scoring. She too is on a hot streak, having collected four points in her last four games.

The trio of Jillian Kirchner, Lauren Cherewyk and Melissa Anderson has been a dangerous one for BU this year. They have combined for 65 points so far this season.

Coaches' Corner
Katey Stone (Harvard), the Jack Parker of the women’s Beanpot, owns the most Beanpot titles with nine under her belt since she came aboard in 1994. With her squad's last Beanpot title coming in 2008 with a 3-1 victory over BU, she's hoping her No. 6 Crimson can utilize home-ice advantage and bring the title back to Cambridge yet again.

Assistants Linda Lundrigan and Lauren McAuliffe (Northeastern) are both serving as the Huskies' interim coaches while head coach Dave Flint represents Team USA in Vancouver. This year, the duo has steered the Huskies to one of their best seasons in recent memory. Each coach also has extensive Beanpot involvement as they both played in the tournament for their respective colleges, Lundrigan at Northeastern and McAuliffe with Harvard.

Katie King (Boston College) is in her fifth season as an Eagles' coach, spending two as an assistant and three as head coach. During her tenure, she has been responsible for BC's burst onto the Beanpot scene, winning all three of their titles in the past four years. Although her team has not performed as it was projected to this season, the Eagles will be looking to pick up where they left off during last year’s title performance.

Brian Durocher (Boston University) is in the midst of his fifth season as the Terriers head coach, having come to the BU women’s program after spending several years as an assistant coach with the men’s program. He will also be looking for his first Beanpot title.  Although BU's first and only title came during the third Beanpot back in 1981, they have made it to the championship game in two of the last three years.

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