Senior goaltender Parker Milner isn’t among Boston College’s seven drafted players, but he is still very much on the NHL radar these days. The Pittsburgh, PA native grabbed the attention of NHL teams last season with a phenomenal junior campaign that culminated with backstopping the Eagles to their fifth National Championship title. Milner’s miniscule 0.50 goals-against average tied the all-time NCAA tournament record, while his .982 save percentage ranks third all time.
His senior campaign, however, has experienced a few bumps in the road and presented some challenges so far, most notably the task of stabilizing the Boston College defense that has been hit by a rash of injuries. Milner takes it all in stride and welcomes the challenge as an opportunity to push himself harder for the betterment of his team.
“Yeah, I do like the challenge,” Milner said. “Whenever you have a bunch of young guys in the lineup, the older guys should expect more out of themselves. If you expect more from yourself, then it’s going to raise the level of play from the other guys and that’s exactly what I’ve tried to do. Obviously, every year is different. I think a lot of the marks that I was hitting were also a lot of the marks that would be tough to ever accomplish again. And you just have to know that and know that the next year is going to be different because you’re going to have a different team in front of you. But it’s been a whole new stretch here for me and I’m excited for that.”
To date this season, Milner has appeared in 28 games, posting a 18-7-3 record that includes two shutouts. His 18 wins are currently tied for fourth in the nation, while his .643 winning percentage ties him for seventh.
Milner is an average sized (6’1”, 188 lbs.) goaltender who has shown that he can play quite well under pressure and step up in big games and key situations. He is remarkably resilient and, when he’s at the top of his game, Milner is nearly impossible to beat. But what may be his greatest asset of all is his head for the game. He’s not one to get too high or too low and his focus is excellent. Milner’s also a fierce competitor willing to do whatever it takes for his team to win. He possesses outstanding athleticism and his rebound control is very good.
Aside from his goaltending skills, two of Milner’s most impressive attributes are his maturity level and calming demeanor. And those attributes have served his Boston College team quite well, particularly this season. Milner credits much of it to head coach Jerry York.
“I think Coach York’s positive energy is one of the greatest things that has had a positive effect on me”, admitted Milner. “I’ve never been around a coach like him and I say that with complete honesty. I’ve been around a lot of coaches, who were yellers and screamers, but Coach York is always positive and he doesn’t have to yell or scream to get his message across. He’s the only coach that I’ve ever played for that always believes in his players and that’s the biggest thing. It means a lot to have someone like that believe in you.”
When Milner departs from Chestnut Hill this spring, he will leave behind his own lasting legacy that includes setting a new school single-season record with a 1.66 goals against average in 2011-12 and currently ranking sixth all-time in wins (60).
So what does Milner want to be best remembered for and what can he bring to the pro game that awaits him?
“I just wanted to be remembered as what our coaches here refer to as a “proud Eagle””, said Milner. “That’s someone who plays well on the ice and steps up in the big moments as well as someone who is a good person in many ways, both on and off the ice. As for what I can bring to a future (pro) team, I’d like to think that I’ve played in some big games and have played on some big stages, which have helped to prepare me for the next level. I feel like I’ve evolved as a person in my time here at BC, so I feel that it will also help me move forward.”
With this year’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh and Boston College poised to make a strong push to get there, backstopping the Eagles to a possible sixth national championship crown would be a fitting conclusion to Milner's stellar collegiate career.
Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF