Milner Caps Remarkable Transformation
Junior Goaltender Named Most Outstanding Player
by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Editor
TAMPA, Fla. For all that's already been written about Parker Milner's transformation to elite goaltender down the stretch, he managed to top himself yet again when it mattered most.
Milner, Boston College's junior goaltender, was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four after Boston College won its third championship in five years, 4-1 on Saturday over Ferris State.
Milner stopped 27 of 28 shots in the final game, and 57 of 59 on the weekend. In the four games of the 2012 NCAAs, he allowed only two goals on 112 shots for a save percentage of .982 — third-best in the history of the tournament and the best since the tournament expanded beyond four teams.
His 0.50 GAA in the tournament is the best in 40 years and is tied for the best all-time with three other players: Ken Dryden (Cornell, 1967), Gerry Powers (Denver, 1968) and Tim Regan (Boston University, 1972).
It completed an almost improbable run and turnaround for Milner, who, as heir apparent to John Muse — winner of two NCAA titles — struggled in the first part of the season and had his job status in jeopardy midway through the campaign.
All he did was rebound to win his last 19 games, eight in the postseason, and lead BC to another national title. As good as he was during that entire stretch, he was at his very best in the postseason when the game and season were on the line.
The last game of the season was no different.
"He's right there," said BC coach Jerry York. "He's like a wall there. As [Tommy] Cross says, he's on another planet.
"He overcame a lot of adversity by sitting on the bench for a few different games and came back. It's good to see that perseverance there."
"When you give up just one goal," said Cross, "you're going to win a lot of games."
After BC went up, 2-1, midway through the first period, Ferris responded to carry play the remainder of the period and nearly tied it several times. One of the best chances of the game for the Bulldogs came when Kyle Bonis had a breakaway with 5:22 left in the period, but was bothered just enough by Cross and then stopped by Milner.
"[Bonis] got free a little bit, but I think [Cross] gave him some stickwork on his stick and he was just able to fire one off," said Milner. "I just tried to take away the bottom of the net, because our D did a good job of taking away his stick, so I didn't think he could roof it."
Then with 7:07 to play in the game, a great play by Bonis to steal the puck in the Eagle zone led to Milner's biggest save of the night. Chad Billins walked the puck in from the point and fed Travis Ouellette at the bottom of the left circle. But when Milner denied him too, there was little question that this was not only Milner's night, but his season too.
"That was a great play by Billins," said Milner. "I don't think there was much our D could have done on that one. He deked about three of them and made just an incredible play. He made a good pass over and I just threw myself over and was lucky to get a save.
"Whenever your D plays so well, you have to make those saves for them."
"The kid might be our Most Valuable Player," said Cross, captain of the Eagles. "He might be our most improved player. Like you can say for a lot of guys in our room, he might be the biggest team guy. The kid had an up and down year. He overcame some stuff. But he hung in there. Not many guys can go on 19-game win streaks. His record and stats speak for themselves.
"He stayed the course. And that's what you have to do to be successful."