Dov Grumet-Morris may have closed it Saturday night.
The junior from Evanston, Ill., stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 4-1 win over Yale—the best statistical performance between the pipes for the Crimson this season.
“He was excellent,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “He gave us the kind of goaltending we needed.”
Mazzoleni stopped short of naming Grumet-Morris over sophomore John Daigneau as the starter for the team’s next game, a Nov. 25 home date with No. 10 Boston University. But he did acknowledge that Grumet-Morris made a “strong statement” against Yale.
Mazzoleni rates players each game on a 1-5 scale, with “3” being average, “4” above average and “5” excellent. He thought Grumet-Morris was a 4 or 5 on Saturday, which is where he will have to stay throughout the season if Harvard is to improve upon the 0-7-1 record it had last year against NCAA tournament qualifiers.
“If you want to win in college hockey, your goaltending better be above average,” Mazzoleni said. “You better operate in the 4-5 range. If you don’t, you’re not going to compete in the upper echelon.”
In three starts this season, Grumet-Morris is 1-1-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
“We needed a big game in the nets,” said Grumet-Morris, Harvard’s starter for much of the last two seasons. “I was just focusing on making the saves as easy as possible.”
Daigneau has played two games, going 1-1-0 with a 3.51 GAA and .837 save percentage.
Walsh’s perfect pinch-hit performance
For the first time this season, Harvard’s defensive corps consisted entirely of NHL draft picks Saturday night. Not surprisingly, that corresponded with the Crimson’s fewest goals allowed this season.
Arguably the most notable performance among the rearguards was turned in by sophomore Tom Walsh, who had been a healthy scratch in two straight games.
Mazzoleni called it Walsh’s “best game.” He was very capable with the puck, nearly scoring on a first-period rush down the right side, and supplied stingy play in his own zone, most notably a glass-rattling check on Robert Burns late in the second stanza.
“Walsh played excellent,” Mazzoleni said. “He was poised. He made plays. We got Tommy here to make plays. Tommy’s a good athlete, a very, very good athlete. He’s a very good baseball player.”
“Pressure should not faze Tommy,” he added. “He needs to play relaxed and poised, and that’s what he did tonight.”