Women’s hockey team looks forward to 2022-2023 season


Harriet Rovniak

The women’s hockey team gets ready to play before the 2022 Beanpot Tournament

Amelia Ballingall, news correspondent

Throughout the 2021-2022 season, the Northeastern women’s hockey team saw tremendous success. With a record of 31-5-2, the team both won the Hockey East regular season and tournament and reached the NCAA Frozen Four for the second time in a row. However, with 16 graduates, the team will be missing many of its veteran players this fall. 

Four of the graduates — Maureen Murphy, Alina Mueller, Mia Brown and Chloé Aurard — announced they are returning for their fifth year, but with 8 incoming freshmen and 2 transfer students, the women’s hockey team will be taking on a new dynamic. 

“I think it’s going to be a new look all around,” said Katy Knoll, a senior forward. “We have a lot of forwards who are staying, but we’re going to be missing some big pieces from last year as well and we’re going to have a plethora of defenseman leaving.”

Among the graduates are team captain and defenseman Brooke Hobson, defenseman Skylar Fontaine and longstanding goaltender and assistant captain Aerin Frankel. With their loss comes a shift not only in the defensive line but in team leadership as well. 

“I’m excited to see people that may not have gotten the opportunity last year or the year before just because we were such a veteran-heavy team, especially the rising juniors. I think they unfortunately didn’t get to experience, with Covid, being the leaders of the team,” said Murphy, a graduate student forward.

Graduate student forward Mueller, who has been in the role of assistant captain since her sophomore year, will be stepping up as captain in her fifth year while senior Gwyneth Philips will step into the net as full-time goaltender.

“It’s super exciting because everyone on the team knows that everyone is capable of stepping into [their new] roles. It’s just going to be so fun and so awesome to see it happen,” Knoll said. 

While the loss of the graduates more heavily affects the defensive line, there are also many strong incoming forwards looking to take their place on the ice. Among these forward commits are Holly Abela, a gold medal member of Canada’s women’s U18 team; Lily Shannon, who accumulated more than 100 points during her time at the Governor’s Academy in Newbury; and Mia Langlois, who committed to play at Northeastern in August 2018 before beginning her freshman year at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham.

“I’m just excited to see all the new roles that people are going to be put into and see how we can hopefully keep up our success that we’ve had the past two years with all the girls leaving,” said Molly Griffin, a junior forward.

The 2021-2022 season introduced only five new players to the team, two of whom redshirted, so the look on the ice did not change much from the previous year. 

The minimal changes the past few years have allowed the team to generate success through consistency. However, with just 22 returning players, the addition of 10 will greatly change the face of Northeastern women’s hockey. 

“I think the girls that are staying and the incoming freshmen are going to have very big roles to fill,” Griffin said. 

The 10 new players taking the ice this fall include freshmen Kristina Allard, Avery Anderson, Alyssa Antonakis, Lily Brakis and Jules Constantinople and transfers Maude Poulin-Labelle, a graduate student from University of Vermont, and Taze Thompson, a sophomore from Harvard University. With hundreds of points scored, numerous championships reached, and many other successes, each woman brings her own set of skills to the team.

Northeastern’s women’s hockey team this past season was heavy in upperclassmen, but a few newer players still got their opportunity to shine. 

“Skylar Irving was a freshman [last] year and she played a big role and a lot of big minutes, especially in the Frozen Four and NCAA tournament,” Murphy said.  

The success of younger members bodes well for the future of the team. The incoming members will have to step up on the ice to support this, but the remaining upperclassmen are ready to facilitate a positive environment for them to grow. 

“We want to emphasize being inclusive, emphasizing that no matter what role you play on the team, you’re still vital to success,” Murphy said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic looming for the past two years, the players have missed out on many of the social aspects of being part of a team. The team dinners that were typical before game days and the abundance of time spent together outside of the rink were put on hold during the pandemic. However, with many COVID-19 restrictions lifted this past spring, the team has been working on returning to their normal dynamics. 

“I think everyone’s just embraced the fact that we’re not like a group of different classes; we’re kind of just one whole group of a team and we’re all very supportive of each other,” Knoll said. 

Throughout the spring semester, players gathered together for team lifts and other social events, coming together as a team to create a supportive community atmosphere both on and off the ice.

“The group that we have staying is really excited to incorporate [the new players] into our team activities, and everyone’s excited to get to meet everyone and show them how we do things around here,” Knoll said.

On the ice, the 2022-2023 season looks different for the women’s hockey team, but their mentality does not.

“I’m really excited for [the returning members] and then for the [10] new players coming in, to show them what Northeastern hockey is all about and the culture that the people graduating and Coach Flint and the rest of the staff have established because it’s really special and anyone that could experience it is truly blessed,” Murphy said.

The team’s first game of the season is Sept. 30 against Long Island University at Matthews Arena.