Mueller’s four points help women’s hockey tie Merrimack


File photo by Dylan Shen

Sophomore forward Alina Mueller controls the puck along the boards in a game against Vermont last season.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

Freshman forward Alina Mueller continued to build her case for the Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday, scoring four points on two goals and two assists as Northeastern erased three separate deficits to tie Merrimack 4-4 on the road.

The Huskies (23-5-5, 21-3-3 WHEA) travelled north to face the Warriors (16-11-7, 12-10-5 WHEA) for their final regular season game. The two teams faced off Friday night at Matthews Arena, where Northeastern shut out Merrimack, 3-0.

Saturday was a different story, as the Warriors got on the board early. Defender Felila Manu scored with a wrap-around at 1:18 to give Merrimack an early 1-0 lead.

The Huskies leveled it before the end of the period, as Mueller scored her first goal of the game on the rush. Senior forward Tori Sullivan fed her the puck while breaking toward the Merrimack goal, and Mueller fired a wrist shot from the left wing that flew past Vermont goalkeeper Samantha Ridgewell.

Northeastern took the lead at the start of the second; Sullivan scored with only 29 seconds off the clock in the frame. Mueller took a point shot that Sullivan redirected in front of Ridgewell, knocking the puck down and bouncing it past the netminder to make it 2-1.

It looked as though the Huskies would head to the locker room with the lead, but Merrimack struck back with two goals late in the period to take a 3-2 lead. First, defender Chloe Cook scored on the power play at 17:52 to tie the score before forward Katelyn Rae got a short-handed goal with just seconds left in the period. The short-handed goal was the first the Huskies have given up all season, and it sent them into the locker room down one.

Resilient as ever, NU fought back, and senior forward Kasidy Anderson tied the score once again with another redirect. Mueller was the architect again, firing another point shot that Anderson was able to flick past Ridgewell.

Merrimack took the lead yet again at 13:57, as forward Paige Voight put her 11th of the season past NU goalkeeper Aerin Frankel. For the third time, the Huskies were faced with a deficit.

It took just over a minute for NU to strike back, however, as Mueller scored her second of the game. This time, she was the one redirecting a shot, as she got a touch on junior defender Paige Capistran’s effort to put it past Ridgewell.

The two sides failed to score for the remainder of the period, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra period, Merrimack threatened often, but Frankel was at her best. She sprawled out to make a great save on Rae’s chance with less than 30 seconds remaining in the extra period, and the Huskies held on for the tie.

Despite giving up four goals, Ridgewell played well, saving 42 shots and keeping the Huskies from taking two points home with them.

Mueller’s four-point game was the first of her collegiate career, and brought her season total up to 48. After being named as one of the ten finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, the annual award given to the top player in women’s college hockey, Mueller scored five points across two games this weekend on three goals and two assists.

She ends the regular season as the Huskies’ top scorer, with 19 goals and 29 assists to lead the team in both categories. She also finishes the season second in the conference in both points and assists, as well as fifth in goals.

Mueller and the Huskies will be back on the ice Friday to take on Vermont (10-18-6, 8-15-4 WHEA) in the first round of the Hockey East tournament at Matthews Arena. The weekend series is best-of-three, with games scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, if necessary.