Maine Hockey Journal

Gillies named to USA roster for upcoming tourney

Portland, ME – Jon Gillies certainly made an impact at his first USA Hockey Select festival. The South Portland native and Northeastern recruit led all goaltenders at the National Select-17 festival (players born in 1994) with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.

On Thursday, USA Hockey announced Gillies was one of the two goalies selected to USA's roster for the Ivan Hlinka Under-18 tournament which will take place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia from August 8th-13th.

“It's an honor to represent your country oversees and wear the Red, White, and Blue,” said Gillies. “I am looking forward to it. I have some friends that went last year and the year before and they had some great things to say about the tournament.”

The Ivan Hlinka Tournament is the first major scouting event for NHL teams as they prepare for next year’s draft, but Gillies has all ready caught the eye of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau being named on their initial report for the 2012 draft.

“That stuff you can't control,” Gillies added about draft rankings. “That's a big part of what my goalie coaches have been preaching to me. You can't worry about stuff you can't control. The draft, anything can happen, but you just have to worry about your play and yourself. If it's meant to be it will work out, and if not there will be other stuff that comes later on down the line.”

Jon Gillies in net for the Indiana Ice (Photo: Brandon Anderson)

Gillies takes pride of the fact that his play this past season with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League led him to an invitation to the Select camp and onto the Ivan Hlinka team that features some other top prospects for the 2012 Draft like Alex Galchenyuk and Cristoval Nieves on the American team.

“You couldn't sign up to come. You had to make it,” said Gillies. “The pace of the game was a lot faster and everyone there was good. There was no weak link or anything like that.”

With the Ice as a rookie, he had a 15-6-2 record to go along with a 2.82 GAA and a .906 SV% and set a couple of Ice franchise records in the process.

He set the record for consecutive wins by a goaltender with ten straight victories from late December to mid-February and he silenced opponents for 182:04 during a stretch last season, which also became the new team benchmark for consecutive scoreless minutes by a goaltender.

“That experience was second to none,” Gillies said about joining the Indiana Ice. “I had a good feeling heading into it and my host family was great. First half of the year I struggled a little bit. I just had to get my feet wet. The second half of the year, I played pretty well and got two playoff appearances. I feel I played pretty well in both of them. I am excited to go back there for one more year.”

Earlier this week a radio station in Quebec City reported that Gillies would head to Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after being drafted by the team in June, but Gillies denied that report.

“Rumors like that go up all the time,” Gillies said. “It's not true. I don't have any venture to go to major junior right now.”

Instead Gillies still has plans to head to Northeastern after one more season with the Ice even as former head coach Greg Cronin stepped down to become an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs in June.

“Nothing has changed,” said Gillies. “I still plan on honoring that commitment. Like I said to them (Northeastern) is still a high profiled program and they will get a great coach in there.”

Gillies went to a few Lewiston Maineiacs games growing up, but college has been his goal all along.

“(Growing up) I didn't understand what major junior was,” he said. “It didn't change my mind. I wanted to go to college and I always been an education person.”

NOTES: Biddeford native Brian Dumoulin was a part of Team USA at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Tournament where the team finished seventh out of eight teams.


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