In a battle between two of the ECAC’s best goaltenders, Hobey Baker candidate Yann Danis got the best of Harvard junior Dov Grumet-Morris.
Danis, who boasts a .951 save percentage and a 1.54 goals against average, stopped 37 of the 38 shots sent his way. Grumet-Morris turned aside 25 shots, including two in overtime, but allowed two goals in a losing effort.
Both Danis and Brown coach Roger Grillo were quick to praise Grumet-Morris, with Grillo saying, “Dov’s an excellent goaltender…He made some saves that were very tough.”
Grumet-Morris, who has cooled off somewhat following a streak of fine performances in late November and early December, has a still impressive 2.41 GAA and a .913 save percentage despite his 6-9-2 record.
For his part, Danis is emulating the Hobey-esque 2002-2003 season of Cornell’s David LeNeveu. Last year, LeNeveu recored nine shutouts to go alongside unheard of statistics—a 1.20 GAA and a .940 save percentage.
While Danis’s numbers are not quite as gaudy, he is considered the top goaltender in the country and has come up with some of his best performances against the Crimson. He stopped 66 shots in a double overtime defeat in the 2002 ECAC playoffs and turned aside 49 others in a loss at Bright a year ago.
This year, however, Harvard has been unable to solve Danis. Including yesterday’s loss, the Crimson has sent 58 shots Danis’ way, and only one has found the back of the net.
The one puck that has found its way past Danis did so on a first period power play. With time winding down on its first man advantage, Harvard’s second power play unit triggered the red light against the nation’s best penalty kill, a unit that functions at 92.5 percent efficiency.
“[Brown] plays tenacious defense,” Crimson coach Mark Mazzoleni said before yesterday’s meeting. “They have a great penalty kill, which is centered around Yann Danis.”
Harvard was able to score its power play goal largely by getting traffic in front of Danis; freshman forward Kevin Du, amidst traffic in front, got his stick on the puck at Danis’s doorstep, and had put the puck past him in an instant.
The Bears also tallied a goal on the power play; Brown’s top power play unit has converted on 23.1 percent of its opportunities this season, third best in the nation. And while the Bears did tie the game in the second period on the power play, Mazzoleni was proud of how well his penalty kill performed.
“I thought [the penalty kill] did an excellent job,” he said. “We were more in a pressure situation…and I thought it was very effective against Brown.”
So effective, in fact, that the Crimson killed off six of the seven power plays it allowed, and prevented the Bears from even getting a shot on net during three of its man advantages. Harvard’s top penalty kill was especially effective in the first period, when the Crimson did not allow a shot on either of two Brown power plays.
“[In the first period] we did a very good job of controlling their attacks so they weren’t able to set up in the zone,” Grumet-Morris said.
Returning to Action
Yesterday afternoon’s game marked the return of senior defenseman Dave McCulloch to the Harvard lineup. McCulloch has missed the last 13 games with a high ankle sprain, dating back to Nov. 25th.
Mazzoleni said he felt McCulloch “played very well” in his first game back.
McCulloch drew regular shifts during the game and appeared confident on his skates, cutting hard and skating quickly. He finished the game with one shot on goal and one penalty.
Freshman Dylan Reese (back) and senior forward Kenny Turano (ankle) remain out of the lineup for the Crimson and Monday night’s Beanpot opener against Boston College will likely see the same 19 skaters Harvard employed against the Bears.
—Staff writer Timothy M. McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.