By Cary Shuman
Boston College has arguably two of the finest women’s hockey players in the world at their respective positions in goaltender Katie Burt of Lynn and defenseman Megan Keller of Farmington Hills, Michigan.
When they are at the top of their game as they were in the championship game of the Women’s Beanpot Monday night at Matthews Arena, Boston College is tough to beat.
And that was the case as Burt made 19 saves while Keller and her mates blocked several others from getting to Burt for Boston College in an exciting 2-1 victory over Northeastern. BC (21-3-5) is unbeaten in its last 17 games.
Northeastern (18-10-3) broke a 0-0 deadlock with a goal early in the third period. BC assistant captain Krstyn Capizzano tied the game at 1-1 before freshman Erin Connolly scored the go-ahead goal with 7:04 left in the game
Northeastern pressed the issue but Burt, who committed a rare roughing penalty in the final minutes, was equal to the pressure.
Game-winning goal scorer Connolly was named the Tournament MVP while Northeastern’s Brittany Bugalski edged Burt in the media balloting for the Joe Bertagna Most Outstanding Goaltender Award. Burt won the award last year.
A strong candidate for the 2018 United States women’s Olympic hockey team, Burt humbly credited her defense for the team’s success in holding Northeastern to a single goal.
“Our D did a great job of keeping the shots to the outside for me and that’s when I have the most success,” said Burt. “Similarly our forwards were great at getting in shooting lanes and blocking shots, especially in the 6 versus 5 situations. I’m really proud of the effort we had last night, going against Northeastern in their rink and coming back and finding a way to win a championship. We’ve had to fight back from behind a few times this year and that shows a lot of heart from our team.”
Head coach Katie Crowley praised Burt for her contribution to BC second consecutive Beanpot title. The coach was asked whether she was surprised that Burt wasn’t named the most outstanding goaltender in the tournament.
“I thought Katie played great,” said Crowley. “I thought she had a chance for the award but there’s other great goaltenders as well. But Katie was tremendous tonight. She made some real nice saves and kept them away from second chance opportunities and handled [Northeastern’s pressure] very well. She’s a great goaltender and she deserves to win the Beanpot and I know she would say that she would rather have that than a goaltender trophy.”
Interestingly Burt wears No. 33 on her BC jersey, the same number worn by Celtics legend Larry Bird. Keller wears No. 4, the same number worn by Bruins great Bobby Orr.
Both stars lived up to those lofty standards once again.