When the No. 1 Harvard women's hockey team needs to score a goal, it can count on the reliable stick of junior winger Tammy Shewchuk.
Shewchuk has 40 points and 21 goals in 13 games, which is the highest goal-scoring output in the ECAC along with Carisa Zaban of New Hampshire. But Shewchuk missed four games when she joined the Canadian National Team for the Three Nations Cup in Montreal, and her 3.08 points per game is the highest scoring average in the conference.
At 5'4 Shewchuk is one of the shortest players in the country, but she uses her speed to give herself plenty of scoring opportunities in the slot. That's what happened in the final minute of a 6-3 victory over St. Lawrence last Saturday, when she took the puck after a face-off in the neutral zone and beat the entire defense down the ice to score from point-blank range.
But she does not rely on speed alone--her talented linemates contribute plenty of help. Shewchuk, junior winger Angie Francisco (14 goals, 26 assists) and sophomore center Jen Botterill (15 g, 17 a) make up the most productive forward line in the conference.
Botterill can penetrate and dish, Francisco does all the dirty work around the net, and Shewchuk is the finisher. The Crimson (13-2-2, 11-2-2 ECAC) used that combination to break out of a 2-2 tie in the second period against St. Lawrence when Francisco won the battle along the boards and sent the puck into the slot, connecting with an open Shewchuk for the score.
The top line scored eight goals last weekend as Harvard eased past Cornell and St. Lawrence, 5-0 and 6-3, respectively. With the sweep, the Crimson kept its three-point lead over travel partner Brown for first place in the conference.
As usual, Tammy Shewchuk led the way with four goals and four assists. If Shewchuk continues to find the back of the net as she has for the past season and a half, Harvard will have a good chance to repeat as national champions.
--ZEVI M. GUTFREUND