For Boston College goaltender Parker Milner, last year was something of a dream season.
He finished his first season as a starter ranked second in the nation in save percentage (.937) and third in goals-against average (1.66). More impressively, though, he allowed only two goals in four games of the NCAA tournament en route to a national title and Most Outstanding Player honors in the Frozen Four.
For the senior backstop of the current No. 1 team in the nation, a repeat this year would be even more rewarding. The 2013 Frozen Four is being held at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, which happens to be Milner’s hometown.
“It would be incredible for that to happen,” Milner said. “I hear about it all the time from people back home, and it definitely gives me something to strive for. However, winning a national title is great no matter where it is. It would be great to be there this year, but there is still a lot of season left.”
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Last year, Boston College started 8-1 before struggling with a 6-9-1 mark during the next 16 games. After that stretch, the Eagles rebounded to win their last 19 games en route to the NCAA title.
This year, BC enters a home game this weekend against Merrimack with a familiar 8-1 record.
“I think the big thing is not getting complacent,” Milner said. “That’s easy to say, but we know how important it is. Last year we hit a bit of a rough patch, so we want to come each day and strive to get better and get more wins so we can avoid that this year.”
Boston College has made six trips to the Frozen Four in the last nine years. While Milner is obviously hopeful of adding another to the total, he said that the people in Pittsburgh appreciate their hockey no matter which teams make the trip.
“It’s just amazing to see how big hockey has become in Pittsburgh,” Milner said. “The credit really goes to Mario [Lemieux] because he saved the Penguins from leaving the city.
“Then of course they drafted Sidney Crosby, and hockey has just continued to gain popularity and every game has been sold out since he arrived. It’s gotten to the point where the Penguins are just about as popular as the Steelers in Pittsburgh, which is just truly amazing when you understand how popular the Steelers are.”
For Frozen Four fans making the trip to Pittsburgh, Milner says there’s at least one must-stop shop.
“Pittsburgh prides itself in Primanti Brothers,” he said. “The sandwiches are huge and they put French fries on them. They leave you feeling very full because they are so big, but it is something you have to do. Station Square is also a great area for people to visit. The Skyline is pretty incredible as well. It’s just a great city.”
• Wisconsin senior defenseman John Ramage is in his second season as team captain. He’s the first repeat Badger captain since Adam Burish in 2004–05 and 2005–06. Other two-time solo captains include Steve Reinprecht (1998-99, 1999-2000), Erik Raygor (1996-97, 1997-98), Steve Rohlik (1988-89, 1989-90) and Mike Eaves (1975-76, 1977-78). Eaves was also one of three tri-captains during the 1976-77 season. In 2008-09, Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion were co-captains, before both were part of a tri-captain group in 2009-10 that also included Ryan McDonagh. Each two-time captain prior to Ramage has won a WCHA regular-season title, WCHA playoff championship, NCAA championship or made a national title game appearance.
• Denver looks to reclaim the Gold Pan Trophy, when the Pioneers face off against Colorado College in Colorado Springs on Friday and at Magness Arena on Saturday. DU is 157-111-15 overall, 92-48-8 in Denver and 62-63-7 in Colorado Springs all-time against the Tigers. Last season, Denver was 1-2-1 against Colorado College with a 1-1 record at home and a 0-1-1 record at the Tigers.
• Nebraska-Omaha goaltender John Faulkner backstopped both wins against Minnesota-Duluth on Nov. 10-11 and has been in goal for each game of the Mavericks’ four-game winning streak. He remains unbeaten this season with a record of 6-0-1, a 2.03 GAA and a .915 save percentage and he is now just one win from tying Jerad Kaufmann for second all-time in wins at UNO. Faulkner’s career record is 44-34-9 in 94 career games. Along with Dartmouth’s Cab Morris (3-0-1) and Alaska Anchorage’s Rob Gunderson (1-0-3), they are the only unbeaten starting goalies in Division I.
• At 6-2, Holy Cross is off to its best start since 2002-03. That season, the Crusaders posted an 8-2 record before falling in its 11th game. If Holy Cross were to sweep RIT this Saturday and Sunday, it would match the best start in its Division I history. If the Crusaders are able to win their next three contests and move to 9-2-0 it would be the best Division I start in history as they began play as a Division I member in 1998-1999.
Mercyhurst will match up with Rensselaer this weekend in a homecoming for Lakers’ head coach Rick Gotkin, who was an assistant coach for the Engineers prior to taking the helm at Mercyhurst. … The 5-0-1 Dartmouth Big Green enter this weekend as the last remain¬ing unbeaten team in Division I as they head to face Colgate and Cornell. … Canisius hosts Niagara Friday in the Battle of the Bridge. The Purple Eagles took 5 of 6 points from the Griffs last season after Canisius won the last two games to the 2010-11 campaign, including a victory in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament. … Miami (Ohio) has won five consecutive games against Michigan State, Friday night’s opponent, the RedHawks’ longest win streak against the Spartans in the history of the series. Miami (Ohio) had won four consecutive against MSU twice previously. … Notre Dame players are participating in the ‘Movember’ charity that encourages men to grow a “Mo” (moustache) during the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. The fund-raising efforts are being spearheaded by junior Stephen Johns. … Following last weekend’s split at St. Cloud State, North Dakota is now 4-0-0 on Fridays and 0-3-1 on Saturdays this season.