This weekend, the men’s ice hockey team will face the top goaltending in the ECAC as it travels north to play Brown and Harvard.
Between the pipes for the Brown Bears will be senior Yann Danis. Danis has proven himself as one of the top goalies in the nation.
Danis has seen playing time since freshmen year when he started 10 games and was awarded the Kevin R. Pope Memorial Trophy — given to the Brown freshman who did the most to contribute to the success of the Bears’ team.
Since then Danis has continued to bring in the accolades. Just a year later as a sophomore he was named first team All-Ivy, second team All-ECAC and second team All-American after posting a 1.86 goals against average (GAA). His .938 save percentage was 2nd in the nation. Danis’ contribution to his team earned him the Class of 1936 Hockey Trophy as the team MVP.
In the 2002-2003 season, Danis again carried his team, becoming just the fourth two-time team MVP at Brown. Both the Ivy league and the ECAC awarded Danis Second-Team honors for his play in net.
Brown has seen much of the same from Danis in the first three games of the season this time around. His opening start against Harvard was outstanding as he shut out the Crimson and earned ECAC Goalie of the Week for the eighth time in his career.
Since Harvard, Brown has gone 1-1, losing to Dartmouth 3-1 while topping Vermont 3-1. Danis played every minute of both games and, though he gave up his first four goals of the season, he still displayed his talent as a goaltender.
Though Harvard cannot boast as accomplished a goalie as Danis, the Cantabs do have some of the strongest goaltending in the league.
Junior netminder Dov Grumet-Morris emerged as the Crimson’s starter late in his freshman season, just prior to their playoff run. During Harvard’s sweep of four ECAC Tournament games, Grumet-Morris posted an impressive 1.29 GAA and .944 save percentage.
Last season, as a sophomore, Grumet-Morris continued to be a brick wall for the Crimson. Starting 29 games, he turned in a .925 save percentage which was fifth in the country. He helped the Harvard netminding corps to a combined save percentage of .926.
In his second season with Harvard, Grumet-Morris earned honorable mention All-Ivy while being named to the ECAC Championship All-Tournament Team.
Harvard also has depth at the goalie position with sophomore John Daigneau and senior Will Crothers, who split time with Grumet-Morris when he was a sophomore. As a rookie, Daigneau saw little playing time but when he was in he was hot, posting a 1.45 GAA, a .943 save percentage, and a 4-1-0 record.
The Harvard coaching staff was most impressed by Daigneau’s numbers last season, awarding him with the start in the Crimson’s second game of the 2003-2004 season. He responded with 20 saves in Harvard’s 6-4 victory.
“We have three guys who are all capable of playing,” said Harvard head coach Mark Mazzoleni. “All have a great work ethic and attitude, and all of them are very competitive.”
While Harvard and Brown have a pretty good idea about who they will be starting in net, the netminding picture looks more uncertain for the Bulldogs.
“At this time of the year it’s going to be a week-to-week decision,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said.
Taylor will inform the team today who will start Friday against Brown, while he will leave his options open for Saturday’s matchup with Harvard.
Taylor has seen three goalies play thus far. Josh Gartner ’06 who ended last season as the Bulldog’s starter split time with Peter Cohen ’05 in a pair of opening loses to North Dakota. Gartner also started in Yale’s 6-2 loss to Cornell.
Matt Modelski ’07 recorded the Bulldog’s first win in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over Colgate. His performance earned him ECAC Rookie of the Week.
“[Modelski] definitely was really comfortable, which is good,” forward Joe Zappala ’06 said. “It looks like he will get some games.”
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