Daigneau and Weiss Combine for Shutout

FERMENTING NICELY
Jessica E. Schumer

Sophomore defensemen NOAH WELCH (5) has five goals and 20 assists this season, improving on his 11-point freshman campaign.

It may have been Senior Night, but it was a freshman who stole the show.

The Crimson celebrated with 53 minutes of shutout hockey from freshman goaltender John Daigneau, downing St. Lawrence, 5-0.

Daigneau and senior Ben Weiss, making just his second career appearance, combined for the shutout.

Captain Dominic Moore and fellow seniors Brett Nowak, Aaron Kim and Weiss were honored after the game in a short ceremony.

The Crimson (19-8-2, 17-4-1 ECAC) recovered from a disappointing Friday night tie against Clarkson by taking control early. Harvard jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and added a goal each in the second and third periods to defeat the Saints (10-19-5, 7-12-3).

Moore, the 107th captain in Harvard hockey history, finished a breakaway two minutes into the game to provide the only scoring the Crimson would need.

Harvard’s second goal came near the nine-minute mark of the first period. Nowak deked a defender left of the goal, broke in on net and snapped a quick shot. St. Lawrence goalie Kevin Ackley made the save, but sophomore winger Rob Flynn was there to bang home the rebound.

Less than two minutes later, the Crimson increased its cushion. Moore recovered the puck in the corner of the offensive zone. Skating away from Ackley along the boards, Moore turned and whistled a pass to junior winger Kenny Turano, who was stationed firmly in the slot. Turano one-timed a wrist shot by Ackley stick-side for the score.

The second period began much like the first, as Harvard again scored after only two minutes. Junior winger Dennis Packard fired a pass to the encroaching Nowak, who beat Ackley to light the lamp.

After that goal, the Saints shored up their defense, even outshooting the Crimson 12-10 in the second period.

But they still could not solve Daigneau, who stopped all 28 shots he faced, including several rebound attempts on penalty kills.

“[Daigneau’s] gotten better and better and better with each game that we’ve put him in,” said Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni. “If we ever have to play him in a key situation we’ll be very confident.”

Harvard’s final goal came five minutes into the third period, when Turano banged home a rebound off freshman winger Charlie Johnson’s shot.

The real story of third period, however, came in the last seven and a half minutes, when Weiss replaced Daigneau, making his ECAC and Bright Center debut.

“It’s not really about the minutes,” Weiss said. “It’s about being on the team for four years. We have an incredibly deep and talented goaltending core on this team. To be counted among them is an honor.”

Weiss stopped all four shots he faced and was steady during a St. Lawrence power play to seal the shutout.

“I was a little bit stiff at first, just trying to loosen up and get into the game,” Weiss said. “It was great. They got the power play there—got some shots. After the first one I warmed up and I felt fine.”

After the game, the other seniors reflected on their Harvard experience.

“When we got here, Harvard was struggling, a .500 team,” Moore said. “We’ve helped build a successful team—that’s something we can be proud of. Progress has been so visible since we’ve been here—we’re almost at a 20-win season right now.”

Nowak echoed Moore’s sentiments. “It feels good that we got better every year,” Nowak said. “We didn’t just come in with a great team.”

“Harvard’s treated me well,” Kim added. “I’ve met some great people through the team, through the school. I have no complaints. Everything about it has just been tremendous. I wouldn’t have exchanged that for anything. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.”

For now, the Crimson is not going anywhere else. Harvard earned a first-round bye in the ECAC Tournament by finishing second in the conference.

—Staff writer David A. Weinfeld can be reached at weinfeld@fas.harvard.edu.