clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jon Gillies saves 49 en route to Friars National Championship

Certainly no Matt O'Connor

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Providence Friars pulled off a massive upset against the highly ranked Boston University Terriers and Jack Eichel, winning 4-3 in an offensive showdown. In a game that featured 95 shots on net, goalies were the ultimate deciding factor. Top Flames prospect Jon Gillies turned away 49 of BU's 52 shots, taking the win and the Frozen Four MVP home.

Providence were the scrappy underdogs for the entire tournament. The #15 Friars sputtered out of the Hockey East tournament in the quarterfinals to a .500 New Hampshire team that didn't even make the NCAA tournament. Their first round matchup was against the 4th ranked Miami of Ohio Redhawks, a game they handily won 7-5 after a four goal near comeback by Miami. They then drove through #5 Denver and #8 Nebraska-Omaha in 4-1 games, leading up to the matchup with six time national champion Boston University.

The game nearly fell away from the Friars quickly. Despite scoring the game's first goal nine minutes in, BU equalized three minutes later, and then took the lead four seconds after their first goal. Mark Jankowski tied it in the second period, but the Terriers scored to take the lead again, which they held until goaltender Matt O'Connor channeled his inner Tommy Salo.

After that, Providence had all the momentum in the world. Brandon Tanev, brother of Canucks prospect Christopher Tanev, scored two minutes later to take the lead. BU tried to work their offensive magic again late in the game, but Providence withstood the assualt, and walked out champions.

For Flames prospects, it was another good outing. Mark Jankowski's important second period goal was his second of the of the competition. John Gilmour and Brandon Hickey were +1 with five and three shots on goal respectively. It was the story of the tournament for those two; combined, they generated 20 shots but only scored one goal.

The man who stole the show was Jon Gillies. He spat in the face of Boston University's high powered offence, which was averaging 4.7 goals per game. In his final NCAA game, he finished with a .942 SV% and was named the Frozen Four MVP. He finished the tournament with a .926 SV% and a 2.51 GAA.

Right now, there is only speculation about the Flames signing Gillies at all. Since he wasn't on the Flames' roster before trade deadline, he is ineligible for the playoffs. It's likely he will get an ATO contract with Adirondack. The baby Flames' playoff hopes are on life support, as they need points in all of their remaining games to at least try to get into the playoffs. If the Chicago Wolves or Toronto Marlies get either one or three points respectively, then Adirondack is out.

The Flames have until the August deadline to sign him, but it looks like that he will be under contract sometime soon. With Joni Ortio in the pros for next year, and Mason McDonald spending another year in the QMJHL, the Flames need an AHL goaltender. Gillies slides perfectly in to that position, and can join the NHL Flames the next year when Jonas Hiller's contract expires. The youth movement is alive and wonderful.

As for BU's Matt O'Connor, who else would think of signing him?