At thirteen letters, it has to be one of the longest last names in all of college hockey.
Billy Christopoulos or Billy the Greek as the rest of the team calls him is adding his name to a long line of Air Force goalies to dominate between the pipes.
“I love it, it’s kind of catchy,” Christopoulos said.
It’s a name that college hockey has learned over the past three seasons as Billy the Greek has become one of the best goalies in the country in goals against average (.918) and earned Atlantic Hockey Conference goalie of the month for January.
“I’m feeling pretty good but there is always a next level you can reach,” Christopoulos said. “We are hoping, come playoff time, the team and I can kick it into the next gear and really step it up like we did last year.”
His save percentage has steadily improved and peaked in 2017-18 after the departure of Shane Starrett.
“It’s obviously an imperfect science but in regards to Bill – Bill is all goalie and he is so cool and calm in there,” Serratore said.
That cool and calm demeanor has led the Falcons to huge upsets, the biggest coming last season in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off #1 overall seed St. Cloud State with a 4-1 win. Time will tell if they can make the same run in 2019.
“Everyone gets up for those games and it’s just cool to see coming from a smaller conference we can still hang with those guys.”
What brought him to the Academy? Head Coach Frank Serratore. As a former goalie himself, he saw genius in Christopoulos during his junior hockey time in Des Moines, Iowa and it’s paid off on the ice.
“Frank came to watch me practice and he’s standing over me in a balcony with a little video camera and I’m like, ‘oh geez, here we go – this guy means business!'” Christopoulos said. “Over the next year or two, we stayed in contact and then I got on my visit to come out here and once you come out here, it’s hard to say no.
“Frank does a good job recruiting goalies – being a goalie himself – and then it’s nice have a head coach whose the goalie coach so you always have eyes on you, you can’t really take any days off of practice so that definitely helps… but if you have any questions he’s right there, you can kind of pick his brain and kind of discuss some goalie things, so it’s been a great relationship.”
He’s never been to Greece before but plans a trip this summer after graduation with some teammates. He said he has family in Asea, “a tiny little village out in Greece.”
“I’ve never met them but my dad talks to them and hopefully I’ll be able to go out there this summer. After we graduate we get 60 days of leave and it’s tradition for the hockey guys to go on a trip together and hit up some cool spots in Europe and hopefully I’ll get to Greece on the back end.”