‘We Knew it was in Our Hands’

An Oral History of the Women’s Beanpot Final

By Michael Ruberto

2020 marked the first time in seven years that the Northeastern women’s hockey team emerged from the Beanpot hoisting the trophy. Going into the tournament with a dominant 23-3-1 record, the Huskies bested the Harvard Crimson 3-1 in the first round before going on to  the Boston University Terriers in the finals a week later. These two rivals had already faced off three times in the 2019-2020 season leading up to this showdown, with the Huskies coming out on top each time.

Following their big win, freshman forward Jess Schryver, sophomore forward Chloe Aurard, junior goaltender Aerin Frankel, and junior defender Lauren MacInnis reflect on the soaring successes and tense battles which led to their gripping double overtime victory over the Terriers.

Coming off of a strong first round, the Huskies had a quiet confidence heading into the locker room before the championship game.

Lauren MacInnis: “The last few years hadn’t gone so well for us in the Beanpot and we were ready to make our mark. We did have nerves, but we have so much confidence in each other that it wasn’t the type of nerves that made us too antsy.”

Chloe Aurard: “We were pretty ready after beating Harvard the week before and just being in the championship. I think the captain, [senior defenseman] Paige Capistran, made sure everyone knew it was a big deal, especially for the three seniors on the team.”

Aerin Frankel: “We were liking the way we were playing, and we knew that if we continued to play our best hockey and had trust in each other, we’d be able to beat BU in the final.”

After 4:55 of play, Boston University managed to get out to an early lead, scoring a short-handed goal while the Huskies were on a power play.

Frankel: “It was definitely deflating at first. We had been struggling with our power play all year and we knew that that was something we needed to be good to win the big games. But I think our team is always good about responding when we get scored on.”

Jess Schryver: “Usually throughout the season when the other team scores first we might feel a little down about it, but honestly when they scored there we right away picked things up and started skating faster. That was a turning point in the game.”

MacInnis: “We’ve been in that situation before where we get down by one and come back. So I don’t think that first goal meant anything to us. We just kept going.”

The Huskies played hard for the rest of the period, and with 2:28 left on the clock, Aurard scored to tie the game at one going into the first intermission.

Aurard: “[freshman defender] Megan Carter stepped up and got a turnover and chipped it against the board. I saw it so I took the puck, chipped it, and skated it towards the net. I think it was Jess with me. It was a quick 2v1, and I thought about passing it first, but then I saw the stick of the defender so I just decided to shoot and it went in.”

Frankel: “I think it was a big relief. Any time you go down two to nothing in a big game, it’s hard to come back from that. We knew that we needed the next goal, and Chloe did it for us.”

The teams took the ice again for the second period, and after 6:33, Aurard scored her second goal of the game to give Northeastern the lead.

Schryver: “Someone tried on the net, I kinda tipped it out and then Chloe one-timed it in.”

Aurard: “Jess did an amazing job in a corner battle against two BU players. Somehow she managed to put the puck in front of the net. I was there because I knew she’d work hard and get the puck to the net. She worked and I just finished it.”

MacInnis: “We all knew we were going to win after that goal – or at least I did. The feeling to get a bit of a head start that period was amazing, and we weren’t going to stop battling. We were ready for this.”

Frankel: “That just speaks to trusting the process. If you do everything right the goals will come. Maybe not right away, but if you play how the coaches tell you to, with the amount of talent we have, we learned that if you just stick to the system the goals are just going to come.”

Near the halfway point of the second period, junior defenseman Skylar Fontaine was assessed a game misconduct and was ejected. Northeastern allowed one goal on the ensuing five minute penalty, causing the game to be tied at two.

Frankel: “Obviously killing off a penalty is a huge deal, let alone a five minute one. There weren’t nerves so much as a little bit of panic. We saw this team can skate with us and they kept responding. We knew we could do it, it was just going to take a strong third period.”

MacInnis: “Whenever something like that happens, especially in a game this big, it can rattle up the team energy. I didn’t play very much before Skylar got ejected, so I needed to step into that position, but my teammates and coaches believed in me. That’s what got me through the game, even when I was mentally and physically exhausted.”

The two rival teams continued to battle for the rest of the period. The Huskies came out strong again in the third, ultimately leading to Schryver scoring with 5:19 left in the game. The Huskies are up 3-2 in the dying minutes of the game.

Schryver: “It was a power play and I was just parked in front of the net. The puck was bouncing away from the net and I saw [sophomore forward] Alina [Mueller] get it on her stick. Whenever Alina gets the puck she makes amazing plays, so I figured I’d put my stick on the ice and see if she’d touch the puck in off of it, and that’s exactly what she did. I lifted up a girl’s stick and then tipped it in.”

Aurard: “I think we really got excited when she scored because five minutes in a hockey game is really short. But we had to get back and focus on the game because five minutes can also be long…”

Despite Schryver’s heroics, Northeastern’s lead wouldn’t hold. With 22.8 seconds left and their own net empty, Boston University managed to sneak a goal past the Huskies. For the fourth time in this game, the score was tied. 

Frankel: “It was a really chaotic scrum in front of the net. I know my players were trying to clear the puck but BU was just swarming us. It was a really tough play, but our mentality was that we’d be able to respond to whatever.”

Schryver: “It was disheartening because it was the last 30 seconds and the game was so tense, but it didn’t even get our hopes down. We knew it was in our hands and we were going to win the game.”

Aurard: “I don’t think we were worried but we were obviously a little upset. We worked hard the whole game and then we just took a goal 23 seconds before the end.”

It would take two overtime periods for a champion to be crowned, but finally, on a power play 16:03 into 2OT, MacInnis rifled home the game-winning goal, cementing the Northeastern Huskies as the winners of the 2020 Women’s Beanpot.

MacInnis: “This was only my second power play, maybe third of the game, and third ever in my college career. The thought going in was, ‘My job is not to score goals, it’s to keep the puck out of my net.’ So in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘We only have one player back, I need to be there just in case.’ So I’m actually recovering in the slot area and the puck happens to pop out where I am, and lucky enough I shot it and it went in the net. The initial reaction was insane. I just couldn’t believe that I scored the game-winning goal.”

Schryver: “Everyone was so hyped, we jumped into the air and threw our gloves and our sticks. We all ran to Lauren and back to Aerin in net. Everyone in the locker room was celebrating, screaming, playing music, it was a great feeling.”

Frankel: “Lauren was playing in a completely different role, which was amazing by her. It was amazing just doing something we haven’t done before. The Northeastern program hadn’t won a Beanpot in a while. It was something bigger than just our team.”