Previewing a historic Beanpot final — NCAA and PWHL highlights

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, Jan. 19, 2024

Hello, women’s hockey fans! It’s Lydia Murray from The Ice Garden, here to bring you this week’s edition of Hockey Friday. It’s been another exciting week in the women’s hockey world, from the PWHL continuing to see big success and the U18 world championship wrapping up. This week, I’ll be taking a look at an NCAA event — the Beanpot tournament in Boston, which is soaring to historic heights this year.

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The Beanpot final preview

The Beanpot is an annual tournament featuring Boston’s four Division I women’s hockey schools: Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern. It counts only for bragging rights, but the pride of winning runs strong in Boston. It is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year locally, and players frequently cite it as one of their favorite memories.

This year is historic for the Beanpot, as the women’s championship game moves to TD Garden for the first time, where both the men’s semifinals and championship are held. Getting the chance to play on such a big stage is huge for the visibility of women’s hockey in the area, and the teams are excited to get a chance to show that women’s hockey deserves the big stage. 

Heading into the tournament, most predicted a BC-Northeastern final since both teams are nationally ranked, but that’s not what we’re getting.

In a major upset, BU pulled off a shootout win against BC. First-year head coach Tara Watchorn is turning things around for BU after several years of rebuilding. However, the rebuild is not over yet and the team sits at just under .500 on the season. They lost to each of their three Beanpot opponents in the first half, but things are starting to look brighter. For starters, goaltender Callie Shanahan is finally back after recovering from an off-season injury. With her in net, BU can rest a little easier. She was a major reason why BU was able to pull off this upset. Meanwhile, BC is enjoying a strong season thanks to a very balanced lineup. They’ve surprised many, and are the highest-ranked of all the Hockey East teams at no. 13 nationally. 

Meanwhile, Northeastern predictably beat Harvard, who has struggled mightily this season after longtime head coach Katey Stone resigned this offseason amid serious allegations that led to an investigation. Meanwhile, Northeastern also struggled a bit to start this season following the graduation of their entire outstanding top line. Their offense is not what it’s been the past couple of years, but thanks to a strong defense and reigning goaltender of the year Gwenyth Phillips, they’ve improved as the season has gone on, climbing to no. 17 nationally. Given the difference in skill, most expected Northeastern to run Harvard out of the building. However, they only beat Harvard 1-0 thanks to a lights-out performance from Harvard goalie Alex Pellicci. That said, Northeastern thoroughly outplayed Harvard, who only managed to land nine shots on goal. 

This leaves Northeastern and BU playing in the championship game and Havard and BC facing off in the consolation game. BU and Northeastern have previously met in the championship game just twice, most recently in 2020, and Northeastern won both times. Northeastern is the favorite to take the whole thing, and for good reason. For starters, Northeastern is no. 17 nationally while BU is unranked. Plus, Northeastern already beat BU three times this season. However, overlook the addition of Shanahan at your own peril. Northeastern is still the favorite by a pretty significant margin, but another big upset is not entirely out of the question. Meanwhile, in the consolation game, BC is expected to beat Harvard without too much trouble, but another standout performance from Pellicci could put that in jeopardy.

The 45th annual women’s Beanpot championship takes place Tuesday, Jan. 23 at TD Garden. The consolation game begins at 5 p.m. EST, and the championship begins at 8 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on NESN regionally and ESPN+ nationally.


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Links

Take a look at how each of the four teams stacked up going into the tournament.

2024 Beanpot preview: Who takes top spot? — The Hockey News

There’s always a lot going on in the NCAA. Take a look at some of the recent highlights and big events.

NCAA roundup: 100 For Cara Morey, Kaltounková takes scoring record, Beanpot!, and more — The Ice Garden

Moving onto professional hockey, here’s a look at the teams stack up two weeks into the season.

PWHL power rankings: Week 2 (01/08-01/14) — The Ice Garden

As I mentioned earlier, the U18 World Championship wrapped up this week. Here’s a rundown of everything that happened in the medal games.

2024 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship: Day 8- medal games and placement — The Victory Press.

This year’s U18 semifinals featured a massive upset, with a new team advancing to the silver medal game. Read all about how they did it here!

2024 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship: Day 7- Semifinals and relegation game — The Victory Press

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Written by The Ice Garden