The long and winding road to the American Women's College Hockey Alliance national championship--which actually leads across the river to Northeastern's Matthews Arena--begins tomorrow for the No. 2 Harvard women's hockey team.
The Crimson (20-4-3, 17-4-3 ECAC) has the No. 2 seed in the ECAC Tournament and will host No. 7 seed St. Lawrence (18-14-1, 11-12-1) in tomorrow's quarterfinal match-up at 2 p.m. at Bright Hockey Center.
Harvard, which began the season favored to win the conference championship for the second year in a row, finished the regular season in second place behind No. 1 Brown (21-3-3, 19-2-3).
But the Crimson enters the playoffs on a six-game winning streak, its longest of the season, which includes a 2-1 victory over the Bears in Providence. And Harvard hopes it will continue to improve on the ice during the mad month of March.
"This is where our season really begins," said freshman defenseman Jamie Hagerman (4 goals, 11 assists). "We're not really focusing on St. Lawrence, we're just trying to recognize that this is the first round of the ECACs and it's time to start playing Harvard hockey."
St. Lawrence is one of four teams that has beaten Harvard this season. The Saints doubled up on the Crimson, 4-2, back on Nov. 27. However, Harvard made the Thanksgiving weekend trip to Cornell and St. Lawrence without junior winger Tammy Shewchuk (32 g, 38 a) and sohomore center Jen Botterill (28 g, 30 a), who were in Montreal playing for the Canadian National Team in the Three Nations Cup.
Shewchuk and Botterill are two of the top three scorers in the ECAC, even though they both missed four games for the Three Nations Cup.
"When we're all healthy and everyone is in uniform, I don't think there is any team in the country that can beat us," said Shewchuk, who leads the conference with a scoring clip of 3.04 points per game. "We know that other teams play that much harder once the playoffs start, but we are not going to change our approach against St. Lawrence."
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