Jin Lee / The Dartmouth Staff
Even the best hockey teams can always use a solid last line of defense and the No. 12 Dartmouth men's hockey team is no exception, with two superb goalies on the roster this season who are dazzling fans with their saves. Cab Morris '14 and rookie Charles Grant '16 have turned away nearly 400 shots together this season, helping to propel the squad to an 8-5-2 (4-3-1 ECAC) record.
The Big Green started this season off strong with many well-attended home games in Hanover and an eight-game winning streak. Dartmouth hit a rough patch during a three-game road trip, but bounced back to win its next three games.
The final game in this second winning streak was the opening contest of the Ledyard Classic, which the Big Green hosted just before the new year. Dartmouth ousted No. 2 University of New Hampshire, 4-1, and Morris was a key component in the upset, stopping a career high 31 shots in the game, including 15 in the final period of the contest.
Due to Morris' exceptional play in the UNH game, he was awarded the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week Award for the second time this winter. Morris also won the prize for the week of Nov. 14 and earned this same honor last season, as well as the ECAC Goaltender of the Month last December Most recently, Morris was named the Northeast Credit Union Athlete of the Week for the first week of January.
Since the big win over UNH, the men have dropped three contests by a single goal to the University of Massachusetts, Quinnipiac University and Ivy League rival Princeton University. Against UMass (7-9-2, 4-6-1 Hockey East) in the second round of the Ledyard Classic, Morris snagged 26 saves despite the 3-2 loss.
Morris said he is proud of the team's accomplishments so far and but stressed that the team must continue to work hard.
"This year has been great and it's really exciting," Morris said. "This is the best this team has done in a long time, but we do still have a lot of big games ahead of us to get ready for."
Since the beginning of his Dartmouth career, Morris has continued to improve his save percentage. His percentage was .810 during his freshman year, .890 during his sophomore year and is currently an impressive .922. Morris has faced 204 shots this season, saving 188 while allowing just 16 goals.
Morris said that there are certain characteristics needed to play his position.
"It is definitely important to be calm, consistent and confident," he said. "The team relies on [the goalie] in every game and trusts us to keep the puck out of the net. I make sure to give it my all every time I'm on the ice."
Close on Morris' heels, first year goalie Grant is more than holding his own in the net. Appearing in seven games, Grant has stopped 186 of the 203 shots fired his way a .916 save percentage.
Grant has noticed a few key differences between his high school and college hockey careers and is practicing hard to make this transition, he said.
"The main thing is the speed it is a lot faster from where I played in the previous years," Grant said. "The players are also all a lot better overall, including the defense, which helps in my job as goalie."
Before joining the Big Green, Grant played for three seasons with the Yarmouth Mariners, part of the Maritime Hockey League.
Grant led the league in shutouts twice and earned many honors and designations. Grant also captained his high school golf team.
Having more than one standout goalie on the Big Green helps the team improve, Morris said.
"It is great because we are both really competitive people and push each other in practice," Morris said. "[Grant] is skilled, calm and patient."
Grant said he enjoys working with another strong player.
"We have a great relationship and it is great to work with him it was nice to come in and have a month of practice to see [Morris'] work ethic," Grant said. "I have built my own approach and habits based off of his and see him as a role model to keep up with."
Teammate Tyler Sikura '15 said that the entire team benefits from having two strong goaltenders and that each makes a unique contribution in net.
"There is a definite competitive edge in practice to win over the spot for the next game and it is also nice to have two good options in case someone is run down," Sikura said. "Cab is really athletic and can come up with a big glove save and Charles is a very traditionally sound goalie."
The Big Green will be back on the ice Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against Harvard University at Thompson Arena.