We continue our annual prospect review and forecast series with Mitchell Gibson, goaltender for Harvard University. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Gibson, a 6’1”, 187 lb left-handed netminder, was selected by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round (#124 overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old Phoenixville, Pennsylvania native spent last season, his freshman year, as the number one netminder at Harvard. Gibson remains unsigned by the Capitals.
In the 2017-2018 season, Gibson was recognized as the NAHL’s Goaltender and Rookie of the Year, took home the title as the South Division MVP, tied an NAHL record posting 11 shutouts in one regular season. He finished with an overall record (including playoffs) of 31-10-9 for the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas. He finished the regular season leading in the NAHL in goals against average (1.59) and save percentage (93.5%), which were both the lowest numbers in the league since the 2014-15 season.
Gibson would play for the Central Illinois Flying Aces in the USHL in the 2018-2019 season. He was unable replicate his success from the his previous season, ending the year with a 3.50 GAA and a .890 save percentage. The team as a whole was not very strong, and in a bit of disarray, as they would fold at the end of the season.
Gibson finished the 2019-2020 regular season with a record of 9-8-3 with a 2.66 Goals-Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage. He ended the regular season ranked 42nd in the NCAA in GAA and ranked 26th in the NCAA in Save Percentage.
2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Gibson played 26:58 for Harvard in a tune-up game against Dartmouth on October 19. He stopped 14 of 14 shots faced. Harvard begins its season in earnest on Friday, November 1.
Gibson has got off to an excellent start so far this season for Harvard. He went 3-0-0 in the month of November, stopping 106 of 111 shots faced for a 1.49 Goals-Against Average and a .955 Save Percentage, which is the best in the NCAA. The Phoenixville, Pennsylvania native became the first Harvard first-year goaltender to record a shutout in his debut since Tripp Tracy ’96 (Nov. 13, 1992 vs. Union, 4-0). Gibson also earned ECAC Goaltender of the Week honors on November 11. (Here) Unfortunately, he would leave the game against Rensselaer on November 22 with a lower-body injury. Harvard is currently ranked sixth in the USA Today/Coaches poll.
Gibson came back to earth a bit in December. After a blazing hot start in November, Gibson went 1-2-1 for the month of December. After giving up just five goals in four games in November, Mitchell yielded 12 goals in four games in December. The 20-year-old freshman made 125 saves on 137 shots in December for a .912 Save Percentage for the month of December. Gibson’s high point for the month came on December 28 against Arizona State, in which he made 43 saves in Harvard’s 4-1 win over the Sun Devils in Southern California. For the season, Gibson is 4-2-1 in eight games played with a 2.28 Goals-Against Average and a .931 Save Percentage.
Gibson went .500 for the month of January (2-2-1), yielding 11 goals on 149 shots faced for a .926 Save Percentage. His high-point came in his last game of the month when he stopped 39 of 42 shots faced against Colgate. Unlike previous months, Gibson only played once on back-to-back nights, but again, on the second night he gave up four goals on 31 shots faced against Clarkson, his worst outing of the month. For the season Gibson is 6-4-2 with a 2.31 Goals-Against Average and a .929 Save Percentage. He is currently 24th in the NCAA in Goals-Against Average and 12th in Save Percentage.
After a blazing-hot start to the season, Gibson cooled in the second half. Gibson went 2-4-1 in February and finished the regular season with a record of 9-8-3 with a 2.66 Goals-Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage. He ended the regular season ranked 42nd in the NCAA in GAA and ranked 26th in the NCAA in Save Percentage. As we mentioned in previous monthly and weekly reports, Gibson’s weakest games during the regular season came on the second night of playing in back-to-back games. Harvard finished the regular season ranked 23rd in the Country. They begin ECAC tournament play this week with a three-game set at St. Lawrence on Friday. After all is said and done, Gibson, who was the primary starter for most of the season for Harvard, had a fairly decent Freshman season.
As we mentioned several times during the season in our weekly prospect reports, Gibson gave up a large percentage of his “goals against” playing in the second night of back-to-back starts. (Highlighted below). This will be one of several areas we will be watching for during his sophomore season.
Looking past next season, it will be interesting to see how Gibson’s next two seasons unfold. If he remains at Harvard for the full four years (you can’t blame him), he would be 24 by the time he would be looking at Hershey. That’s rather late in the game.
By Jon Sorensen