Everything is not going to go perfectly all the time. That’s how this game is and that’s what makes it great is that you have to battle through the good times and the bad. - Jon Gillies
CALGARY, AB -- A road without a few bumps isn’t a path worth traveling.
At least, that’s the thought of Calgary Flames goaltending prospect Jon Gillies after coming off an admittedly trying season with Providence College.
“Up until I left for the World Juniors, my college career had gone smoothly,” Gillies said Tuesday from the WinSport facility at Canada Olympic Park. “I had all the puck luck and stuff like that. I had a few games there where it was up and down and the second half was up and down.”
The adversity, Gillies believes, will make him stronger.
“It was a good learning experience from a mental standpoint to learn how to bounce back and make sure I knew that I can battle through things like that,” he said. “Everything is not going to go perfectly all the time. That’s how this game is and that’s what makes it great is that you have to battle through the good times and the bad.
“My teammates really stuck by me during that time. Hopefully they never stop believing in me and I’ve never stopped believing in them.”
His teammates never did.
“Jon as a goaltender, I love seeing him stop pucks,” Friars defenceman John Gilmour said. “I don’t really score on Jon too often in practice. It’s better shooting on the other goalies out there. Jon stops everything all the time. He tries so hard in practice.
“Come game time, it shows.”
Upon inspection, the numbers show it too.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound keeper finished with a 19-9-5 record, a 2.16 goals against average and .931 save percentage during his sophomore season in 2013-14. Those figures were nearly identical to those he put up as a freshman a year prior when he posted a 17-12-6 record with a 2.08 goals against and .931 save percentage.
Gillies earned all sorts of Hockey East honours for his rookie performance, but he admitted it was tough sledding at times in Year Two.
Still, he’s not concerned with the potential impact his season had on a new management group that includes president of hockey operations Brian Burke and general manager Brad Treliving.
“They’ve been really forthcoming and honest with me,” he said. “They’ve reached out to me just as much as I would like to reach out to them. They’ve been very welcoming and it’s been good so far.
“I already sat down with them this week. I didn’t have a bad season by any means. Our team didn’t have a bad season. We had a good season. Every team is going to go through stretches like that. It was tough at times. You look back on it and you realize how much you gained from it from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint.
“I know it’s going to make us better going forward.”