MEN'S HOCKEY: Milner Will Be Key As Eagles Chase Trophy
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 00:02
The men’s hockey team entered the weekend with a one-point lead atop Hockey East and exited it trailing first-place Merrimack by one point. After a closely contested game against the Warriors Friday night ended in a 2-1 overtime loss, Sunday’s matinee against UNH brought more offense but a disappointing result for the Eagles, ending in a 4-4 tie.
With the weekend of games in Hockey East completed, BC is still in second place holding 26 points. Near the Eagles is Merrimack in first place with 27 points, UNH in third with 25 points, and BU and Providence tied for fourth place with 24 points.
After the game, head coach Jerry York expressed how competitive the league is this year.
“I really think that the battle for the (Lamiorello) Trophy is going to come down to the last week of the season, it’s going to go right down to the wire,” York said.
If the Eagles hope to stay in the top half of the standings and defend their Hockey East regular season and tournament titles, the success of the team will be determined by the play of senior goaltender Parker Milner.
When Patch Alber went down with an injury in early January, the BC coaching staff was forced to be creative in how it filled the vacancy on their blue line. After trying out forwards Brooks Dyroff, Steven Whitney, and Cam Spiro, the team has settled on a lineup that has four freshmen defenders. In addition, the loss of Kevin Hayes for the foreseeable future to an indefinite suspension has removed one of the team’s top scorers. The rest of the offense has been spotty at times, sometimes scoring four or five goals a game and other times barely squeaking one over the line.
With six games left in the regular season, Milner will have to be the Eagle that picks up the slack for an injured defensive corps and a shorthanded offensive unit.
This weekend, Milner was the second star of the game against Merrimack when he turned aside 40 shots and was able to hold off a Warriors squad that was afforded eight power plays and multiple scoring chances.
Yesterday, against UNH, Milner had 29 saves in a helter-skelter performance. The Eagle goaltender fell victim to a goal scored from the neutral zone and a wrap around goal scored when he was caught out of position. However, his bright spots may have been more impressive. Milner shut down the Wildcats on an extended 5-on-3 advantage and he also successfully foiled a few breakaway opportunities with timely poke checks.
The remaining schedule contains three games against Hockey East opponents who are part of the top four teams in the league. Next weekend the Eagles go back to North Andover for a rematch against league leader Merrimack, followed by a home and home matchup against Providence the following weekend.
If the Eagles hope to climb back atop the standings, Milner will be the difference. Throughout the season he has been a constant performer between the pipes for the Eagles.
Senior captain Pat Mullane was sure to point out after the game that, “he’s pretty special … (all he wants) is for this team to be successful and the team is very fortunate to have him (in the goal).” Mullane also made a point to attribute the team’s success directly to Milner.
“Without him we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” Mullane said.