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Gillies named to USA Hockey's preliminary World Junior Championship roster

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Jon Gillies landed the back-up gig at the 2013 World Junior Championship and ended up leaving Ufa, Russia with a gold medal.

This year, he'd like the same result but would like to carry the bulk of work in net for the United States.

The Calgary Flames third round pick (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft has been named to USA Hockey's preliminary roster for the 2014 tournament and will be making a push for the starting gig.

The final step in his push for the starting role comes later this month at the USA Hockey training camp, running Dec. 15-18 at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, with preparations continuing in Angelholm, Sweden. The final 23-man roster will be announced on Dec. 23.

Aiding in his quest is his consistent, top notch play at Providence College. Gillies is 10-1-2 this year and leads Hockey East with a winning percentage of .846. His GAA sits at 1.81 and he has registered a .945 save percentage. He recently set a Providence record, becoming the all-time shutouts leader with his eighth collegiate goose egg.

Gillies main competition for the starting job comes in the form of Philadelphia Flyers prospect Anthony Stolarz, who is currently playing for the London Knights in the OHL. He currently leads the league with a .930 save percentage and is second amongst all OHL goaltenders with a 2.38 GAA.

Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko was also named to the preliminary roster. The netminder has established himself as the Eagles starter, a feat considering he is the youngest player in college hockey this season. Demko is draft-eligible in 2014.

Defenceman Patrick Sieloff likely would have been a lock for the American squad but he is unable to participate due to his recovery from an infection. The Ann Arbor, MI native, who is playing for the Abbotsford Heat this season, may be eligible to return to action in early 2014.

Mark Jankowski, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk were in contention for spots on the Canadian World Junior Championship roster but were not invited to the final selection camp this month.

Jankowski, the Flames first round pick in 2012, is averaging 0.60 points-per-game this season with seven goals and nine points through 15 games with the Providence College Friars. He is second amongst all Providence skaters in goals, trailing junior Ross Mauermann.

Poirier has been a consistent offensive threat for the Gatineau Olympiques this year and is fifth in the QMJHL in scoring. He has 20 goals and 44 points through 28 games this season. He played for the QMJHL in the 2013 Subway Super Series. The winger was selected 22nd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

The Regina Pats have benefited greatly from Klimchuk's offensive prowess this season. The Calgary, AB native has rattled off 12 goals and 29 points through 26 games this year. He also participated in the 2013 Subway Series, suiting up for Brent Sutter's WHL squad.

Russian defenceman Rushan Rafikov, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft, has been invited to his country's pre-tournament camp.

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