Gillies on O’Connor: ‘He’s a wonderful goalie’
By Pat O’Rourke
BU News Service
Providence goaltender Jon Gillies was on the highest of highs on Saturday night. The junior made 49 saves in leading the Friars to its first NCAA title in program history, named the most outstanding player of the Frozen Four in the process. But he was aware of his counterpart and friend, BU goalie Matt O’Connor, who was riding the lowest of lows.
The Terriers junior netminder had allowed two third period goals in the Friars come-from-behind win, the first of which was on the misplay of the puck in his glove after playing the dump-in of defenseman Tom Parisi.
“As a goalie you feel bad for a bounce like that,” said Gillies. “And you’ve been there, so you know the bottomless feeling that it presents and just told him how great of a season he’s had, how great of a tournament he had, how great of a game he had. He made huge stops throughout that entire game.”
The two goaltenders know each other from playing against each other in the USHL. Gillies played for the Indiana Ice for two seasons from 2010-12. O’Connor played for the Youngstown Phantoms in that same pair of seasons.
“I know him personally,” said Gillies. “He’s a wonderful goalie. He had a great year and he was fantastic throughout the tournament to get here.”
Gillies was named the most outstanding player of the Frozen Four following the game after stopping 74 of 78 shots in two games, wins over Nebraska-Omaha and BU. He finished the season with a 24-13-2 record to go along with a 2.01 GAA and .930 save percentage, numbers that garnered second-team All-American honors.
O’Connor was the best goaltender in the Hockey East not named Jon Gillies this season, named the 2015 All-Hockey East second team after posting a 12-2-2 record in conference play with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage. The Providence goaltender was named to the first team.