How Much More Brian Billett Should BC See This Year?


Boston College avoided going 0-for-BU, thankfully.

The Eagles accomplished this thanks to the men’s hockey team, which went down Commonwealth Avenue to Agganis Arena and beat the Terriers, 6-1. The win moved BC to 11-5 and ensured that BU would not sweep the regular season series. If these two teams meet again, it will either be on February 13 as part of the Beanpot or in the postseason.

Forget the goals BC scored (which were nice, by the way) and let’s focus on goaltending. In the previous two games against Boston University, starting goalie Parker Milner allowed a total of nine goals — five in the first game, four in the second. Enter freshman goalie Brian Billett, who manages to stop 40 of the Terriers’ 41 shots, and holds them down to what I have heard described as a cheap goal off of a BC player’s skate (since the game was untelevised, confirmation of this isn’t possible unless someone who was at the game would like to verify).

Brian Billett has gone 2-0 in his two starts, winning big road games in net at Yale and BU. If you can believe it, Billett also got an assist in the final BU game for his first career point. On the other hand, Milner, who started the season out very well, has lost four of his last five starts and let in 17 goals over that span. His last game, a 5-3 loss to BU, saw the Terriers take 15 shots and score 5 goals (one was an empty-netter). These are small sample sizes all around, but inquiring fans want to know: will Billett get more playing time?

I don’t propose to tell Jerry York, arguably one of the best college hockey coaches of all-time, how to do his job, but the answer should be yes. The idea is not to get too carried away with two strong starts in-goal, but Billett has definitely done enough to warrant getting more starts. Parker Milner hasn’t been sharp lately and Billett has been the hot hand; this doesn’t mean we expect York to bench Milner, but Billett should be seeing time regularly.

The better question to ask is this: why did it take until the Yale game for us to see what he can do? BC liked Billett as a recruit and they knew he had talent, and even though Milner was sharper earlier in the season, the Eagles were afforded some opportunities to throw him in there. Still, it isn’t like BC hasn’t started freshman goalies on a regular basis before, and I’ve never regarded Milner as untouchable and unquestionably the starter. From last season until now, Milner is goaltending to a save percentage of right around .900, which if it continues might be good enough in most games against lesser contenders, but doesn’t mean he should be in net for every game the rest of the way.

What Billett has done in his short time at BC so far has been good, and all Eagles fans would like to see it continue. As far as I’m concerned, a little goalie competition might be good for both guys, as if Milner’s job is suddenly in jeopardy, he may raise his game, and with any luck, Billett will continue the trend from his strong first two games.

In the short term, Billett is the hot hand. The Eagles have two final games, on Tuesday and Friday, before their three-week finals and Christmas break. I would like to see Billett in goal for at least one of them.