TAMPA - He stood in the hallway about an hour after Boston College had won the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four championship.
His mask was off, replaced by a baseball cap with the national title designation on it, but he was still in full pads.
BC goaltender Parker Milner had an ear-to-ear grin that wouldn’t quit. The junior, who along with the rest of the team received a visit from former Eagles goaltender John Muse after the contest, was just basking in the glow of the team’s accomplishments.
Milner had just made 27 saves on the way to a 4-1 victory over tenacious Ferris State in the title game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and had earned 19 straight wins, the best ever by a BC goalie.
But Milner was all about the team goals and what they meant to him.
“It’s tough to describe,’’ said Milner. “That senior class that just won this year. The leadership that [captain Tommy Cross] brought. From the superstars to the role players, I can’t say enough about how they meant to us as a team and how they mean to me. It makes me a little sad that it’s my last game with them.’’
When the team dropped a pair at Maine, Milner said no one anticipated they would not lose another game the rest of the way.
“I would’ve never thought we could go on a run like this,’’ said Milner, the Frozen Four’s Most Outstanding Player who finished the season 29-5-0. “I feel really blessed, I think we all do. It’s an honor to get a championship for the Eagles.’’
As strong as Milner was, he said he wasn’t happy with the goal he gave up at 5:19 of the opening period to Garrett Thompson that tied the game at 1-1.
Milner had only given up one goal in three NCAA Tournament games going into last night.
“I was a little mad at myself about the first goal,’’ said Milner. “I’d like to have that one back.’’
Of his strong performance, Milner said it was just a matter of holding up his end of the bargain.
“I just try to keep the guys in it as long as I can because I know they’ll be there for me the whole game. It’s exciting to make a couple of saves for them because they do so much for me.’’
In Thursday’s win over the Golden Gophers, 11 Eagles contributed at least 1 point.
All four BC lines and three sets of defenseman, as well as goaltender Milner, entered the final as a powerful squad.
“As a team, we’re confident that if my line isn’t going, then [Chris Kreider’s] line is going to be going or Bill [Arnold’s] line is going to be going. And when they’re not going, we’re going to be having a good night,’’ said Pat Mullane. “We have a lot of confidence in each other, that if one line doesn’t have its best night, there will be other guys to back them up. I heard Minnesota talk about it [afterward], they said, ‘What line are we going to check against?’ That is what has made us so successful so far.’’
It seems BC did it more this season with role players than in the past.
“Brian Dumoulin was up for about every single award in the country,’’ said Mullane. “Same with Chris Kreider, but what makes those guys so special is they would trade every single one of those awards for a national championship. I think it does make it special when guys like that are willing to put their personal interests behind them in order to be successful on a team.’’Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.