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Beanpot mania arrived at the Bright Hockey Center last night as the Harvard women's hockey team advanced into next Tuesday's finals of the 17th Annual Women's Hockey Beanpot with a solid 3-2 win over Boston College. B.C. 2 Harvard 3
The Crimson (9-7-1 overall, 7-2-1 ECAC) dominated the action throughout, and if it weren't for a twenty-second span during the third period would have left the arena with a shutout.
"B.C.'s not the toughest team," junior Holly Leitzes said. "But we played well and we're getting better."
Harvard's offense was again keyed by the play of A.J. Mleczko, who figured in all three Crimson goals--scoring her team-leading twenty-fourth goal and collecting assists on the other two Crimson tallies.
Co-captain Winkie Mleczko anchored the stalwart Harvard defense and also contributed two assists to the Crimson attack.
Junior Christa Calagione opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:12 of the first period.
Calagione, who had drawn the Eagles' penalty just seconds earlier, weaved in from the point and lifted the puck over the Boston College netminder, Kristin Gray.
Junior Stacy Kellogg redirected a shot from the point by sophomore Colleen Malek to put the Crimson up 2-0.
Malek and A.J. Mleczko were awarded assists on Kellogg's goal, which came at 16:50 of the second period.
A.J. Mleczko's goal at 7:30 of the third period, with assists from W. Mleczko and Kellogg, gave Harvard a three-goal advantage.
Even with the lead the Crimson continued to press the action, daring the Eagles to get back into the game.
"We have a tendency to let teams back into games," Leitzes said. "So we kept playing like it was 0-0."
The Eagles, however, like the Harvard men's team last night, wouldn't go down without a fight.
B.C.'s Heidi Anderson broke in on a two-on-one break and beat Crimson goalie Erin Villiotte (25 saves) to the glove side at 9:10 to cut the Harvard lead to two.
"We were a little screwed up on a line change and they capitalized," A.J. Mleczko said.
Coming out of last weekend's games, the Crimson shifted lines slightly--moving Calagione to defense on some shifts and moving Leitzes up to forward.
Just 30 seconds later the Eagles struck again as B.C.'s Kate Antos slid the puck past Villiotte after a scramble in front of the Crimson net.
"We weren't ready, and sort of out of it after the first goal," Leitzes said. "They just jumped on us before we recovered."
Harvard survived a scare later in the period as Antos had a point-blank opportunity denied by Villiotte. The Crimson regained its composure, though, and was able to hold off the Eagles for the remainder of the game.
"It's hard coming off a double game weekend," A.J. Mleczko said. "We're all tired, but having the Beanpot at home really helped gear us up, and we wanted to avenge the men's loss."
The Crimson's win earned them a finals showdown with Northeastern, which advanced with a 24-0 win against B.U. in the first game last night.
Before the Tuesday finals, however, Harvard will play host to New Hampshire and Colby over the weekend--both very powerful teams.
New Hampshire leads the ECAC and Colby defeated the Crimson 6-3 last weekend.
"It's tough to play three games in a week," A.J. Mleczko said. "We're going to be tired again so we'll have to reach down deep."
The Crimson tied Northeastern, 2-2, at home earlier this year but has hopes of taking the Beanpot away from the defending champion Huskies.
"We tied them earlier," A. J. Mleczko said. "But we're a better team now so I think we can win it." HARVARD, 3-2 at Bright Arena Harvard 1 1 1 -- 3 B.C. 0 0 2 -- 2
Har--Calagione (W, Mleczko, A. Mleczko) 16:12
Har--Kellogg (A. Mleczko, Malek) 16:50
Har--A. Mleczko (W. Mlaczko, Kellogg) 7:30.
B.C.--Anderson (O'Neill) 9:10.
B.C.--Antos (Compson) 9:39.
Saves: Har--Viliotte 10-7-8 25; B.C.--Gray 11-13-7 31.
Power Play: H 1-2, B.C. 0-3.
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