The Harvard women's hockey team was firing, literally, on all cylinders last night at the Bright Hockey Center as they defeated Middlebury, 1-0.
The Crimson (8-6-1 overall; 6-2-1 ECAC) rained 34 shots on the Panthers' net-minder and dominated the contest from the opening face-off. Middlebury 0 Harvard 1
"We played a great game," co-captain Winkie Mleczko said. "We played with our heads up and it really paid off."
Crimson goalie, freshman Jen Bowdoin, notched her fourth win of the season and if there is any such thing as an easy shut-out, Bowdoin got one.
With the Panthers managing only four shots on goal, Bowdoin should probably have been concerned more about falling asleep than Middlebury's anemic attack.
By keeping herself awake Bowdoin notched her third shutout of the season.
"Jen [Bowdoin] is really playing well," co-captain Diana Clark said. "She really wasn't challenged much today but we're very happy with her play."
Sophomore A.J. Mleczko supplied the only offense necessary for the Crimson with her 19th goal of the season.
Mleczko broke in unhindered on a two-on-one and wristed a high stick-side shot past Middlebury's goalie at 8:06 of the second period.
Junior Stacy Kellogg assisted on the goal that gave the Crimson its insurmountable advantage.
The Crimson was able to keep the Panthers from mounting any serious offensive threat with a combination of aggressive forechecking and an unbending defense.
Harvard was even able to smother Middlebury's offensive firecracker, Jennifer Hefner, who came into the game with 17 goals and 12 assists.
"Our defense really tightened up," coach Katey Stone said. "We broke the puck out of our own end really efficiently."
During some stretches in the second and third periods, the Crimson's forecheckers were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone through several line changes.
If there was a down-side to Harvard's performance, it was the quality of some of their shots. Many of the Crimson's 34 shots were turned aside easily, and several shots from the point sailed well wide of the Middlebury net.