BOSTON — Making history is nothing new for Northeastern women’s hockey.
Six-straight Hockey East championship titles. Three consecutive Frozen Four appearances. The conference all-time scoring record holder. The first ever goaltender to win the Patty Kazmaier award. And that’s all in just the last four seasons.
However, on Tuesday night, nothing seemed more special than a 19th Beanpot title.
For the first time ever, in the 45th annual tournament, the second week of the Women’s Beanpot was held at the TD Garden. Northeastern and Boston University squared off in the championship once again, just four years removed from a thrilling double OT final that the Huskies claimed thanks to a tally off the stick of defender Lauren MacInnis.
And just like in 2020, in extra time in the 2024 iteration, Northeastern went home with the trophy — this time thanks to junior forward Skylar Irving’s heroics, lifted the Huskies to a 2-1 victory.
The game started out fully in BU’s control, as they dominated puck possession and racked up shots on goal. Special teams got to work early for both sides, with three penalties called in the opening 20 minutes. Northeastern was clearly on the back foot even on their own power play, as they were hemmed in their own zone and gave up a shot on goal while being up a skater. Luckily for them, and mainly thanks to the outstanding play of netminder Gwyneth Philips, the first period ended deadlocked at zero.
The Huskies, however, came back from intermission playing better than they had in the first. Even though they were outshot 12-9 in the middle frame, they built off the momentum after a too-many-skaters-on-the-ice penalty, and turned the tide to keep the Terriers deep in their defensive end.
Then, as the minutes ticked by, the Huskies found themselves deep in their offensive zone. Quick passing and maintained puck possession allowed Northeastern to reset along the perimeter. Senior defender Abbey Marohn pushed the puck in at the line, banking it off the boards where it found the stick of Irving. The forward proceeded to take advantage of a timely screen in front before launching up and over junior netminder Callie Shanahan’s shoulder for the 1-0 lead.
“It’s honestly, truly amazing,” Irving said of both her individual effort, and the experience at the Garden. “It’s an extra special moment, and it’s something I’m gonna definitely treasure for the rest of my life.”
From there, Northeastern took full control of the game action. They played hard and fast in the third period, outshooting the Terriers 12-5 after struggling to keep up in the previous two frames. It was all going to plan, as the clock ticked down.
Until the Terriers clawed their way back.
Bit by bit BU found themselves with more control of the puck. After pulling Shanahan with under three minutes left in regulation, the Terriers turned the puck over and allowed Northeastern’s Taze Thompson to fire a shot on the empty net from the red line.
She just missed wide.
Then BU turned it back around. Taking advantage of the tired Northeastern skaters who were caught out for a long shift on a 6-on-5, sophomore Sydney Healey fed a wide open Catherine Foulem at the left faceoff dot. The senior forward wasted no time burying it in the open cage to knot the game at one with just 58.1 seconds remaining in regulation.
With the shutout spoiled, and now a charging Terrier team closing in, Northeastern needed to open the overtime period with a faceoff win and hopefully find a way to score early.
They did exactly that.
Irving, fellow forward Katy Knoll, and Northeastern’s captain Megan Carter were sent out to start the extra period. While the faceoff win wasn’t the cleanest, the trio were able to maintain possession of the puck after Carter banked it off the boards to herself before beating out a pressuring Lacey Martin who was looking to force the turnover to exit the zone.
Carter fed the breakout from deep in the Northeastern defensive end onto the waiting stick of Knoll. The fifth year streaked in past the blue line, threaded the cross-ice pass to Irving perfectly, allowing the junior from Kingston, Massachusetts to go five-hole on Shanahan just 27 seconds into the overtime period.
Game over. Huskies win, 2-1.
Right: Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports
“Honestly, I kind of just got really excited and wanted to hug my teammates,” Irving said of her game-winning goal. “All I really thought was, ‘well, we just won another beanpot’ and that was an amazing feeling.”
Thanks to her performance, Irving went home with the MVP honors for the tournament. Philips, who gave up just one goal across two games on 33 shots on goal, claimed a second-straight Bertagna award as the tournament’s best goaltender. With the tying goal coming so late, the goaltender was asked about how she was able to refocus in order to keep playing her game.
“That kind of speaks volumes for our team,” she said. “To let in the tying goal with less than a minute left on 6-on-5, to not let that deter us and have Sky score on the opening shift of overtime is huge.”
It’s no secret that this season has not gone exactly according to plan for the Huskies, as they’ve struggled to score throughout the season and already have three times the losses they had at the conclusion of 2022-23. Due to their struggles, they don’t take this win lightly, and the second trophy might mean just a little bit more for them.
“It was awesome winning it last year,” Irving said. “But it’s a little bit more rewarding this year when we were battling a bunch of adversity throughout the season. Just being able to pull together and get this win was huge and I think it’s gonna be, moving forward, it’s going to be good for our team with confidence and whatnot.”
But no matter the result, the atmosphere was special for all involved — 10,633 spectators made it out to TD Garden on Tuesday, the most ever for a women’s hockey game in New England. For those who took part on the ice, it’s a moment they don’t take for granted.
“We always talked about how cool it would be to play in the Garden,” Philips said. “But we were always like ‘ah, it’d be kind of dead.’ So the fact that we got 10,000 people is unreal. It was so much fun and when Sky scored it was so electric.”
Although this win is certainly something to celebrate, the season is far from over as Northeastern gets right back at it with a two game set against Merrimack this weekend. Over the next five weeks, as the regular season comes to a close, the Huskies will play 10 games throughout Hockey East.
“I think the big thing is we gotta, we gotta rest our bodies,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint. “It’s a quick turnaround and we’ve been playing a lot of hockey so we need to be locked in and ready for that… I hope this helps us get some confidence and some consistency in our play. It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride this season. So if we can get that consistency down the stretch here, I think we’re gonna be in good shape.”
WRBB will return with live coverage of Northeastern’s next game, this time a conference matchup against the Warriors on Jan. 26. Khalin Kapoor, Luke Graham, and Jackson Goodman will be on the call when the puck drops at Lawler Rink at 6 p.m. on WRBBSports+.