BOSTON, MA -- Calgary Flames prospect Jon Gillies has been named one of the semifinalists for the 2013 Walter Brown Award, given annually to the best American-born player in New England.
The award, which was established in 1953, is the USA's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honour. Eight of the semifinalists are from Hockey East.
The 19 year-old netminder, who hails from South Portland, ME, is in the midst of his freshman year at Providence College. He has solidified himself as the Friars starting goaltender and has been the backbone of the squad throughout the entire 2012-13 season.
In 22 starts this year, Gillies has a 10-8-4 record with a 2.18 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage. On paper, these numbers look average but in reality, Gillies' workload has been intense. He has faced 654 shots this year, stopping 606 of them, and his poise under pressure has impressed Providence head coach Nate Leaman.
"He's made a lot of big saves at the right times," Leaman told CalgaryFlames.com last fall. "That more denotes to the mental side of the game. Being able to be focused and being poised."
Another indicator of how valuable Gillies is to the Friars is how the team has faired without him in net. In the three games he hasn't started, Providence is 0-2-1.
Hockey East has honoured Gillies for his play on numerous occasions. He was named November's Rookie of the Month, the Defensive Player of the Week twice and Rookie of the Week on three occasions.
Gillies' early-season body of work convinced the Hockey USA brass that he would be a capable back-up for 2013 World Junior Championship starting goaltender John Gibson. He jumped into the USA's opening game of the tournament, turning aside all seven shots the Germans sent at him in the third period. The team went on to win goal in Ufa, Russia last month.
The Flames drafted Gillies in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft.