Müller breaks Hockey East all-time scoring record to send Huskies to fourth straight division title


Elizabeth Scholl

The Huskies celebrate a goal against the Crusaders Friday night. Northeastern’s 4-0 win secured a fourth consecutive Hockey East title for the team.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

The Huskies brought the heat Friday night when they hosted the Holy Cross Crusaders for their third matchup of the season. The Huskies have won the last 11 games against the Crusaders and Friday night was no different, as Northeastern shut out its visitors 4-0 to claim its 12th straight win of the season. 

“It was a great effort all the way around,” said associate head coach Nick Carpenito. “Offensively, defensively, [senior goalie Gwyneth] Philips looked great … and one thing that I think really took a step forward especially in this game was our offensive possession.”

Setting the tone for the night, just 1:35 into the game, graduate student forward and captain Alina Müller scored the Huskies’ first goal, carving her name in the Hockey East record books by becoming the all-time leader in career points with her 168th point in the division, topping Northeastern alumna Kendall Coyne-Schofield. This is the second division record the Swiss star has broken this season, her first coming in October after tallying her 85th assist, the most all-time in Hockey East.

“That’s a pretty incredible list of people she just topped,” Carpenito said. “She’s been consistent throughout her whole career, so for her to get an honor like that … we’re super proud of her.”

After making a quick turnover in the defensive zone, junior forward Molly Griffin slapped the puck up to Müller in the neutral zone. Mueller was joined by linemate and fellow graduate student forward Maureen Murphy, and the pair developed a 2-on-1 against Holy Cross junior defender Vaia Graves. Murphy’s first pass attempt bounced off Graves’ skate, but she was quick with the rebound, saucing the puck across to Müller at net, where the captain easily scooped it past junior goaltender Madison Beck. 

Holy Cross then got its strongest opportunity of the night when junior forward Millie Sirum broke away from Northeastern’s blue line, closing in on the net of Philips alone. She took a shot from a distance, but Philips could see it from a mile away, easily snatching the puck out of the air.

From then on, tensions from the visiting team were high and the Crusaders couldn’t stay out of the box. That aggression contributed heavily to their downfall, as the combination of the Northeastern’s stellar .229 power-play percentage and Holy Cross’s weak .793 penalty kill spelled a recipe for disaster for the Crusaders.

They managed to protect their net for the rest of the first period, slowing down the efforts of Northeastern’s power-play units, holding them to just a few shots throughout all three penalties in the frame. One attempt nearly found its home, echoing off the crossbar after a quick one-timer from Müller, but it remained a one-goal game through the rest of the period. 

Although Northeastern also took a penalty that period, a roughing call against senior forward Katy Knoll, the Huskies were still able to stay on the power play. After Holy Cross sophomore Madison Michals body-checked Northeastern senior defender Megan Carter into the boards, Philips came out of net to give her team the 6-on-5 advantage. The Huskies kept possession for nearly a minute, dancing around the net of Beck, but the netminder was finally able to collapse around the puck to stop play. 

The resulting scuffle in the crease between Knoll and freshman defender Casey Borgiel sent them both to the box, but with two in for the Crusaders and just one for the Huskies, Northeastern stayed up a player as the clock wound down. 

The Crusaders only managed to notch three shots on the net of Philips throughout the first 20 minutes of play, and starting the beginning of the second period down a player did not help their case. 

Fifty-six seconds into the period, the power play winding down, graduate student forward Chloe Aurard grabbed the puck off the stick of junior defender Abbey Marohn and raced around the perimeter of the offensive zone. She passed it to the awaiting senior forward Peyton Anderson at center, who whipped it into the net to give her team a two-goal lead. 

Only a couple minutes later, at 3:14, the Huskies were back on the player advantage when sophomore forward Mackenzie King was sent to the box for holding. 

They were once again able to capitalize on the opportunity when graduate student defender Maude Poulin-Labelle took a driving strike through traffic from behind the left faceoff circle. The goal, Poulin-Labelle’s fourth as a Husky since transferring from the University of Vermont this season, was assisted by senior defender Megan Carter and sophomore forward Skylar Irving. 

Opportunities went both ways for the next few minutes. Eight minutes in, the puck bounced off Philips, going up and over her, out of her line of vision. Much to Northeastern’s relief, it skirted just outside the post, keeping the game at 3-0. 

Anderson responded with another close call halfway through the period with the puck dinging off the near post, sliding away before the Huskies could jump on the rebound. 

With 6:53 left in the frame, Northeastern headed to the penalty kill for the first time that night after Murphy was called for body-checking. 

The kill read more like even play for the two teams, each racking up shots against the opposing net. The Huskies drained the clock easily, but the time spent up a player gave Holy Cross a bit of traction they had been so desperately needing. 

Once they entered the third period, however, it was clear the Huskies would stay on top. 

Marohn took a penalty for tripping 4:11 into the frame and the minor was killed without a shot on goal from the opposing team. 

The Crusaders then faced back-to-back penalties, struggling to maintain composure against a relentless Huskies offense.

They managed to survive the player deficit, but it was in even strength a few minutes later that Carter sealed Holy Cross’s fate. 

A struggle for the puck behind the net held the Crusader’s blue line, along with Beck, out of place, leaving just enough time for Murphy to slip a pass back to Carter in the middle of the zone. With no hesitation, Carter buried the puck in the back of the net, putting the score at 4-0 with less than five minutes left in regulation. 

“She’s incredibly tough to play against, but she also has the ability to jump in the offense and be productive, and she’s a one-person breakout a lot of times too, which is a very valuable asset to have,” Carpenito said. 

After being held to just one shot on the period before that goal, Holy Cross picked up its stamina to not fall further behind, notching a few more attempts before the buzzer sounded. 

“Everyone worked really hard to make my job easy,” Philips said. “Those are sometimes some of the hardest games because you go for so long without getting a shot and then you’ve got to make a big save. I definitely go in knowing that throughout the game I have to stay completely zoned in.”

The matchup was a show of Husky domination across the board. Between Müller’s record-breaking night, the blue line holding the Crusaders to single-digit shots each period and Philips regaining her position as the sole shutout leader in the NCAA with nine, Friday night’s game was a strong showing for the Northeastern lineup, sealing its fourth straight Hockey East regular season title. 

With just one game left before the Beanpot and time ticking down toward the end of the season, the Huskies hope to continue this momentum as they face UNH in Matthews Arena Thursday night. The puck drops at 6 p.m. for the team’s breast cancer awareness game.