Parker Milner wasn't perfect -- just outstanding.
Milner made 27 saves en route to earning Most Outstanding Player honors as Boston College won its third NCAA title in five years by beating Ferris State 4-1 Saturday night in the national championship game at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"I can't really even describe the excitement," Milner said. "It's amazing and I can't say enough about our team."
Steven Whitney scored twice for Boston College (33-10-1), including an empty-netter with 1:03 to play. Senior Paul Carey and freshman Johnny Gaudreau also had goals for the Eagles, who finished the season by winning their last 19 games.
The championship is the fifth in school history for BC, which also won in 1949, 2001, 2008 and 2010.
Garrett Thompson had the lone goal for Ferris State (26-12-5), which was making the first Frozen Four appearance in school history. The Bulldogs, regular-season champions of the CCHA, beat Union 3-1 on Thursday to make the title game and made the Hockey East champs work for everything they got.
"I felt all of our players played great tonight," Bulldogs coach Bob Daniels said. "I have zero regret about this other than the fact that I would have obviously liked to have the title for the players. But I don't want to shortchange our players. I'm exceedingly proud of each and every one of them."
Carey's power-play goal with 9:27 left to go in the first snapped a 1-1 tie. He tipped Brian Dumoulin's shot from inside the blue line past Bulldogs goaltender Taylor Nelson to put the Eagles ahead to stay.
The game remained 2-1 until Gaudreau scored with 3:02 remaining in regulation, and Whitney added an empty-netter.
Lightning founder Phil Esposito greets fans in a special pre-game ceremony including Dave Andreychuk and the great, great-grandon of Hobey Baker. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz)
"In the third period, I thought we locked down defensively, stuck to our game plan and got pucks in deep," senior defenseman Edwin Shea said. "It paid off with that goal late in the game."
Nelson finished with 33 saves as Boston College outshot Ferris State 37-28 in the game -- including 15-6 in the final period. But it wasn't as if Ferris State didn't have its fair share of chances.
The Eagles plagued themselves with penalties in the middle period -- BC was whistled for five infractions, including four straight at one point. The Bulldogs had a number of good looks on each of the ensuing power plays, but couldn't convert.
"We definitely didn't take advantage there," Ferris State senior Jordie Johnston said. "In any game, that's going to kill you, and it came at a crucial time in the game too. It probably would have changed the outcome quite a bit."
Milner proved to be not only the Eagles' best penalty-killer, but was perhaps his team's best player of the NCAA tournament. BC outscored its opponents 16-2 in sweeping four games.
With Boston College clinging to a 2-1 lead late in the game, Milner dove to his right to deny Bulldogs forward Travis Ouellette of what would have been the tying goal, and also turned back Aaron Schmit from point-blank range in the first.
"Parker played unreal," Shea said. "They had a ton of chances and he kept us in the game."
The Eagles opened the scoring at 3:18 of the first when a pass through the slot from Barry Almeida was deflected near the top of the crease and landed right on the stick of Whitney, who put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead. Thompson tied it 2:01 later.