Grumet-Morris Given Nod

For the third straight season, the playoff fate of the Harvard men’s hockey team lies in the glove and blocker of Dov Grumet-Morris.

The team’s primary goaltender during each of his three years in Cambridge, Grumet-Morris will be in goal when the Crimson begins the ECAC tournament in a little over a week, Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said yesterday.

“Unless something happens out of the ordinary,” Mazzoleni said, “he’s the guy.”

After a regular season in which Grumet-Morris has seen his job security wax and wane with his performances, the on-again, off-again competition for the No. 1 spot with sophomore John Daigneau appears to be on hold.

“It’s just like the rest of our team,” Mazzoleni said. “We’re trying to solidify our positions. We’ve always done that at this time of year.

Grumet-Morris has started 23 games this season—including the last five—while Daigneau has started four. Daigneau’s last start came at Yale on Feb. 6, when he allowed four first-period goals and was replaced by Grumet-Morris before the second period. He hasn’t played since.

But Mazzoleni did not rule out using Daigneau if Grumet-Morris struggles. “I told John Daigneau, every day, he has to be ready,” Mazzoleni said. “He has to enter every game with the assumption that he could be in there.”

Statistically, Grumet-Morris has had the better season: a 2.42 goals-against average and .911 save percentage, compared to Daigneau’s 3.30 and .862, respectively. Daigneau (2-1-0) does have a higher winning percentage than Grumet-Morris (9-12-3).

In the end, Mazzoleni was compelled by Grumet-Morris’s playoff experience. He is 7-3 with a 2.28 GAA and .918 save percentage in 10 career playoff games. Daigneau has no postseason experience at Harvard.

“He’s got the proven track record,” Mazzoleni said of Grumet-Morris. “He’s played very well each year down the stretch. He’s risen to the challenge before, and we have to go with that right now.

“The key to winning the [NCAA bid] for our league is going to be who’s hot in goal.”

Grumet-Morris’s finest hour in a Crimson sweater came over five playoff starts as a freshman, during which he posted a 1.70 GAA, .932 save percentage and 4-1 record. Three of the wins came in overtime. Two stand as the longest games in Harvard hockey history.

He followed that up with a 3-2 record, 3.05 GAA, and .903 save percentage during last year’s playoffs.

“It helps to be confident in your netminder, and we have that with him,” captain Kenny Smith said. “His freshman year, he was spectacular in the playoffs. Same thing last year. We know he can do the same thing now.”

Only nine teams have made the last two NCAA tournament fields. The Crimson is one of them. Grumet-Morris expects that experience will benefit both him and his teammates down the stretch.

“We’ve played in the big games,” he said. “Hopefully those lessons will serve us well over the next couple weeks.”