Maine Hockey Journal

Gillies tops USHL rankings by Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting rankings don’t mean very much to South Portland native John Gilles in the long term, but he definitely uses it as a motivator.

Gilles, who is a recruit of Northeastern, plays for the Indiana Ice this season and was recently ranked as the number one eligible goaltender in the USHL for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Central Scouting.

“Obviously it’s kind of an honor,” Gillies said. “It’s a good accomplishment, and then again those rankings don’t mean anything, especially early in the year. It’s a nice little piece of motivation to keep that going all the way to the draft.”

Gillies started the 2011-’12 season with the USA Under-18 team that competed at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in Slovakia. Despite the fifth place finish, Gillies said he improved in every game.

“Slovakia was a learning experience,” he said. “There was no one goalie that played great. It was a struggle for everyone because of the different style of play over there. It was a good learning experience. The key to that tournament was that I got better every game. I had a pretty good game that I was happy with in the last game I played.”

After being the back-up last season with the Ice, the 6-5, 215-pound goalie has become the starter this season and really excelled between the pipes.

“You have to come to play every night,” Gillies stated. “Your team has to know what they are getting every night. You can’t be up-and-down. You can’t be really good one game and bad the next game. Your team has to trust you and you have to earn their trust. I have worked hard to do that so far and I hope to keep going.”

Gilles, who recently signed his Letter of Intent to attend Northeastern next season, has a 7-3-2 record with a 2.44GAA and a .913 save percentage.

“That was pretty exciting,” said Gillies with a laugh. “It’s just a little piece of paper, but it feels pretty good and it feels pretty good the next four years of your life is pretty much set-up for you.”

Another Maine native found his name in the rankings for the upcoming draft as Brian Hart, a native of Cumberland, was pleasantly surprised to see his name ranked as a “B” level prospect.

“It was great,” said Hart, who is committed to Harvard University for 2012. “I haven’t played a game once this fall so it’s funny how it turns that way. I was just happy to be on the list.”

The senior at Phillips Exeter Academy has been playing for the school’s boys’ soccer team this fall.

“The sports are definitely different, but in terms of conditioning, I have been running every day,” Hart said. “I think that just helps keeping in shape.”

This summer he trained down in Saco with several current and former college players.

“I skated with my brother – Kevin Hart who plays for Providence College – every single day, (Mark) and (Connor) Anthoine, John Laliberte who’s in Europe now,” Hart added. “That was very good skating with the pro guys that worked out every day.”

He picked up a few tips along the way.

“Nutrition is a big thing I picked up from the guys, how well they eat,” Hart said. “I am trying to model that a little more.”

He also played in a couple of tournaments this summer, including the Chowder Cup and the Beantown Classic.

The Chowder (Cup) was fun,” he said. “I played with a of couple future Harvard teammates. It was good to meet those guys. It was fun. I was on a good team. We lost in the semifinals.”

He had five goals in three games at the Chowder Cup.

He wants to become more of a two-way player when he enters Harvard.

“Before I came to Phillips Exeter, I was a little offensive and my defensive game wasn’t there,” said Hart. “This year I am trying to build on it more, playing more of a two-way game and more of a college game.”

His season started Saturday with a 6-3 win over Kents Hill. On Tuesday, Phillips Exeter faces off against Hebron Academy at home in Exeter, NH.

Also on the list includes 2013 Maine recruit Brian Morgan who is listed as a “B” level prospect in the EJHL. He has 13 goals and 17 assists in 20 games, which is ninth in the league. 2012 Maine recruit Matt Morris, a goaltender with the Dubuque Fighting Saints is the sixth ranked goaltender in the USHL. He still hasn’t returned from an injury, which he suffered in October. He has a 3-2 record with a 1.73GAA and a .923 save percentage this season.

Devin Shore, a 2012 or 2013 recruit, is ranked as a “C” level prospect. The 17-year old has 11 goals and 12 assists in 18 games with the Whitby Fury of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He was named to the all-tournament team at the World Junior “A” Challenge where he had two goals and four assists in four games for the silver medalists, Canada East.

NOTES: Former Lewiston Maineiacs goaltender Andrey Makarov is ranked as the number one goaltender in the WHL. Francis Beauvillier and Dillon Fournier each found themselves in the top-25 QMJHL rankings for the upcoming draft.

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