Sure it was only an exhibition game, but the final score certainly counted in the race to replace former Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris ’05.
The result of that contest? Daigneau 1, Tobe 0.
With the two contenders splitting time equally between the pipes, senior John Daigneau held McGill scoreless through nine shots. But his rival, junior Justin Tobe, surrendered four tallies on 13 attempts as the Redmen rallied to upend the Crimson, 4-3 at the Bright Hockey Center Friday night.
“I thought Johnny played well,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said afterwards. “He probably saw a little less action and quality opportunities.”
McGill’s best chance against Daigneau came just moments into the first period, via 2-on-1, but he and the Crimson defense successfully warded off the effort and neutralized the Redmen offense throughout the next period and a half.
Tobe, however, was less fortunate, though he was not the exclusive bearer of blame for the McGill comeback. Sloppiness on his part did account for the Redmen’s second tally—Tobe gloved Lucas Madill’s blueline shot but failed to control it, allowing Maddill to bang home the rebound—but Harvard’s less-than-stellar defensive play outside the crease certainly contributed to the other three.
“We left Tobe out to dry a couple of times,” sophomore Jon Pelle said.
McGill’s first and fourth goals were notched by relatively unmarked shooters and its third was poked home on one of the Redmen’s eight power plays.
But Tobe, humbled after losing his backup spot to Daigneau a season ago, fixed the blame squarely on his own shoulders.
“I feel like I should be the starter on this team,” Tobe said. “And if I am, I should stop those.”
Jon Pelle, the Bright’s goalposts missed you.
Now a sophomore, Pelle announced that his rookie season numbers were no fluke with his performance against McGill, potting two goals from his favorite spot: the backdoor.
The first was, of course, a tap-in on the power play, a welcome sign for a unit that lost two of its early-season mainstays—Noah Welch and Andrew Lederman—to graduation in the off-season.
And his second score, which tied the game at three apiece midway through the third period, provided the first glimpse of rookie Jimmy Fraser, who assisted on the tally.
Senior Charlie Johnson threaded a pass to Fraser through the McGill defense, allowing him and Pelle to skate in unimpeded. Once goalie Mathieu Poitras committed, Fraser—skating with that unit only because senior Dan Murphy had been ejected in the second period—flipped the puck across the crease to Pelle, who tucked it into the vacated net.
Sophomore Alex Meintel was sidelined by a sprained ankle he suffered in a scrimmage against Brown on Wednesday. He is day-to-day...Senior Dan Murphy was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct following a hit from behind 55 seconds into the second period.
—Staff writer Timothy J. McGinn can be reached at email@example.com.