Mt. Lebanon duo hopes to help Boston College defend championship
How do you top winning two national championships in three years?
You win a third one in your hometown.
That's the goal for Boston College's Parker Milner and Patrick Wey. The Mt. Lebanon natives hope to wrap up their college careers in style by defending their NCAA Division-I championship at the 2013 Frozen Four at Consol Energy Center in April.
“That's a long way away,” Wey said. “I know that would be an even sweeter part of the deal if we were to make it that far, for sure. I know both of us want to finish strong and not really just for ourselves, but for all the guys we've played with. We want to try to win it all again.”
While a trip to Pittsburgh is far from a sure thing, Milner says it gives him a little extra push this year.
“It'd be pretty special to come back to my hometown, a place I have so much pride in,” he said. “It'd feel like I was coming full circle. It's definitely something I've been working toward all summer.
“After the success of last year, what it did was motivate us even more. We don't really want to kind of let this senior year fly by and be OK with not winning it this year and not being successful. I think we have an even deeper desire this year.”
Since 2006, the Eagles have claimed three NCAA championships and finished second twice. Milner, a goaltender, and Wey, a defenseman, were key components of the team's 2010 title during their freshman years, too.
“It's an incredible honor to even play at an institution that has the chance to (win it all) every year,” Milner said. “We've been incredibly fortunate. A lot of things have gone into the success here. It's just great to be a part of that.”
Boston College (33-10-1, last season) stormed its way to the NCAA title with a program-record 19-game winning streak to end the year. Milner allowed just two goals on 112 shots in four NCAA tournament games to be named the most outstanding player of the Frozen Four.
“It was a phenomenal run. Sometimes, I have to look back and blink my eyes a few times to make sure it was real,” Milner said. “Those games weren't easy to win. That's something we're taking into this year. We did win those 19 straight games, but there was a time when we weren't winning at all. Things can turn pretty quickly. We, fortunately, got to see the good part of it.”
Wey, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound blue-liner, thrived in the postseason. He had a goal and three assists in four NCAA Tournament games. He overcame a severed tendon in his foot to finish the year with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 32 games. The injury bug has hit Wey, an Eagles alternate captain, hard each year, as mononucleosis ended his freshman year early. He has had to overcome a concussion and a broken wrist as well in the past.
“I've had plenty of (injuries) at BC. I have learned how to deal with them,” he said. “I work hard to rehab and keep positive mentally. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't that bad of a transition back into playing. When you have to sit in the stands and watch practice, it makes you hungry to get back.”
The Washington Capitals' 2009 fourth-round pick hopes to start his pro career once his collegiate campaign comes to a close.
“I fully intend on doing that, and I hope my development this year sets me up for a good transition to the pros,” he said. “I am really excited about that opportunity, but I put it on the back shelf for now. I am just excited to be back here for my senior year and can't wait to get it going.”
Milner finished with an impressive junior campaign. His 29-5-0 record led all NCAA Division-I goaltenders in winning percentage (.853), while his save percentage (.937) was second and his goals-against average (1.66) ranked third. He had a .050 goals-against average and a .982 save percentage in four games of the NCAA Tournament.
“For me, with the team I had in front of me, it was just about playing a simple game — controlling rebounds and just being sharp. When you play with such high talent, that's really all you have to do as a goalie. When I was able to simplify my game, that's when we were able to have success as a whole,” he said.
“I needed to realize I didn't have to do it all. Some goalies do have to do it all. I don't have to do it all or anywhere close to it all. I just have to do my small part and my team will do the rest.”
Milner hopes to embark on a pro career once the Eagles' season concludes.
“I'd love to, if the opportunity presents itself,” he said. “I am just focusing on this year and the right here and right now. Hopefully, in the future I will have some chances to further my career a little bit.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.