PROVIDENCE--Any championship team must face some adversity during the course of a season. The No.1 Harvard women's hockey team, in danger of having its 27-game win streak snapped, turned to the forward with the big C on her jersey, A.J. Mleczko.
Mleczko, who mined Olympic gold last year for the U.S., brought ECAC tournament glory for Harvard this season--the school's first such title.
In overtime, sophomore forward Tammy Shewchuk found her in front of the goal with a pass, and Mleczko took several whacks before lofting it over junior goaltender Alicia Roberts just 1:15 into sudden death.
"When I stepped onto the ice and heard the announcer say sudden death, I knew that everything was on the line," Mleczko said. "I gave Roberts one too many chances at it, but it finally went in."
With that goal, Mleczko iced the Tournament MVP award that most of the press had been ready to give her after she guided the Crimson through its most difficult moments Saturday night as well.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, junior goaltender Crystal Springer had to scramble to deny a furious Dartmouth power-play attack as the buzzer sounded to end the first.
Mleczko, who gave Harvard that lead, lifted a rebound over fallen Dartmouth goaltender Meghan Cahill to inaugurate a five-goal second period for the Crimson.
She didn't stop there.
Mleczko would put the game out of reach ten minutes later on the power play to complete her hat trick.
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