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 in the top menu or 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 22-year-old Phoenixville, Pennsylvania native has spent the last three seasons as the number one netminder at Harvard. He remains unsigned by the Capitals.
In the 2017-2018 season, Gibson was recognized as the NAHL’s Goaltender and Rookie of the Year and took home the title as the South Division MVP. He tied an NAHL record posting 11 shutouts in one regular season and finished with an overall record (including playoffs) of 31-10-9 for the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas. Gibson 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, his rookie campaign in the NCAA, with a record of 9-8-3, 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. The season was ultimately cut short at tournament time due to the Covid pandemic.
The 2020-21 season was a complete wash for Gibson, as Harvard and many of the other eastern teams scrapped the season in its entirety due to the Covid pandemic.
The 2021-22 season saw Gibson return to action after 18-months of sitting idle due to the Covid pandemic. To Gibson’s credit, it took very little time for him to find his grove. He would go 18-10-1 in 29 games played this season.
Gibson finished the season with a .918 save percentage, which was 24th best in the NCAA, and a 2.17 goals against average, which was 14th-best in the NCAA. Pretty good numbers for his second full season.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Mitchell Gibson during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Gibson and Harvard opened the season with a 9-3 thrashing of Dartmouth. Gibson started and played 40 minutes before he was pulled with a large lead. He stopped 7 of 8 shots in his season opener. It was Gibson’s first game since March of 2020.
Gibson started the second night as well, stopping 15 of 18 shots and took the win. For the month of October, Gibson went 2-0-0, stopped 22 of 24 for shots for a .916 save percentage. He just needs games.
Gibson’s first start of the month came on November 11 against No. 14/15 Cornell University. He stopped 34 of 36 shots faced for a .947 game save percentage as Harvard upset Dartmouth, 3-2. He would get the next night off, something that was rarely the case during the 2019-20 season.
Gibson stopped 15 of 17 in his second start against Northeastern on November 8. He struggled in his next start on November 12 giving up five goals on 21 shots as he continued to search for his form from two years ago. Gibson settled down a bit stopping 16 of 18 shots faced against Brown on November 23 and had a much better outing in his next game, stopping 22 of 23 shots faced in a 1-0 loss to New Hampshire. Gibson is 4-3-0 with a 2.41 GAA and a .897 save percentage so far thius season.
Gibson stopped 19 of 20 shots faced in his first game of the month against Dartmouth, but took the loss on December 3.
— HarvardMHockey (@HarvardMHockey) December 4, 2021
That would be his only start of the month, as Harvard’s schedule was relatively light during the holidays. For the season, Gibson is 4-4-0 in eight starts, with a 2.21 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
Gibson began to pick up his game, as we expected. After missing nearly 18 months of hockey during the COVID break, Gibson started slow this season but is now showing signs of his old self. He went 5-2-1 in January, giving up 17 goals on 205 shots for a .917 save percentage.
For the season, Gibson is 9-6-1 with a 2.17 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He is now ranked 32nd in the NCAA in save percentage and 16th in the NCAA in goals against average.
Gibson is once again finding his groove, and has returned to pre-COVID performance levels. Gibson stopped 15 of 15 shots faced for the shutout against Yale on February 11th.
— Harvard Men’s Hockey (@HarvardMHockey) February 12, 2022
He had one of the best outings of his career on Saturday, February 19, sending aside 39 shots against No. 4 Quinnipiac to lead Harvard to a hard-fought 1-0 victory. He finished the weekend with 67 saves, boasting a 1.50 GAA and .957 save percentage.
Great stop by Gibby on the 2-on-1. #GoCrimson
— Harvard Men’s Hockey (@HarvardMHockey) February 19, 2022
Gibson was selected goalie of the week in the ECAC on February 21. Gibson (Jr. – Phoenixville, Penn.) was just what the Crimson needed in net over the weekend, picking up a pair of wins over Princeton and Quinnipiac to help Harvard clinch a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
Gibson and Harvard won the Whitelaw Cup for the ECAC championship on March 19. As a result they faced Benton Maass and Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA playoffs on March 24. His season would come to an end with a 4-3 loss to Maass and Minnesota state.
Gibson had a strong season once he dusted off the cobwebs. (He missed about 18 months of playing time during the pandemic). Gibson ended the season 18-10-1-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
Gibson season came to an end in March. Harvard won the Whitelaw Cup for the ECAC championship on March 19. As a result they faced Benton Maass and Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA playoffs on March 24. His season would come to an end with a 4-3 loss to Maass and Minnesota state.
Gibson had a strong season once he dusted off the cobwebs. (He too missed about 18 months of playing time during the pandemic). Gibson ended the season 18-10-1-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
Gibson had another strong showing. After sitting dormant for nearly 18 months due to the pandemic, he really found his stride in the second half of the season. Once he found his grove he was once again fairly impressive in the 12 games we watched this season.
Gibson has stated publicly that he will get his degree at Harvard. He is entering his 4th year at Harvard this fall (third hockey season). What isn’t known right now is if Gibson will use his 5th year of eligibility awarded to him for the lost season due to the Covid pandemic. Regardless, he is at least one more year away from potentially reporting to Hershey, and because of this uncertainty, remains fairly low on the Capitals depth chart.
By Jon Sorensen