Record-breaking Müller paves the path through Hockey East quarterfinal


Mika Podila

Graduate student forward Alina Müller high-fives her teammates after a goal in the Hockey East quarterfinal. During the game, Müller broke the tournament record for career points and tied the Northeastern program record for career points.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

After finishing the regular season with 72 points over second place Vermont’s 56 — and a Beanpot trophy to boot — the Northeastern women’s hockey team’s (31-2-1, 24-2-1 HE) streak of excellence continued as they hosted Merrimack College (9-25-1, 5-20-2 HE) for the Hockey East quarterfinal Saturday afternoon. 

Behind a five-point performance from graduate student forward and captain Alina Müller, who had a hand in every goal, the Huskies skated their way to a 5-1 victory, securing their spot in the semifinal round.

On top of that, graduate student forward Chloé Aurard and senior forward Katy Knoll both hit milestones, with their 200th and 100th career points, respectively. 

One thing about the way Northeastern’s top line scores — they make it look easy. After barreling into the offensive zone off the puck drop, it didn’t take long for the trio of graduate student forwards Chloé Aurard, Maureen Murphy and Müller to find a crack in Merrimack’s defenses. 

“Our chemistry is on a very high level; we’ve played with each other for three years, it’s a lot of fun,” Müller said. “I think we’re one of the best lines in college hockey and I’m really proud that whenever the team needs us, we can deliver.”

Just two and a half minutes into the game, that lethal line cut through the Warriors’ defense. Cutting in front the left corner of the net, Müller took a shot into the pads of Merrimack senior goaltender Emma Gorski before scooping up her own rebound to put the Huskies on the board. 

The Warriors tried to turn the ice in their favor, but Northeastern’s defense was quick to block or clear any shot attempts, and the few that made their way to senior goaltender Gwyneth Philips were quickly snuffed out by the Hockey East Goaltender of the Year. And once the Huskies got going, they couldn’t be stopped. 

At 7:51 into the frame, Müller scored again, her second tally of the night sending her ahead of former teammate Skylar Fontaine with the most career points in the Hockey East tournament.

Behind the net, Müller set up the play herself, passing it off to Aurard and graduate student defenseman Maude Poulin-Labelle to cycle it along the boards as she headed toward the net. Poulin-Labelle rocketed the puck across the ice to Müller, who slapped it into the open back door to double Northeastern’s score. 

“She’s shattering records left and right, but they’re well-deserved, consistent,” said Northeastern associate head coach Nick Carpenito. “She’s our heart and soul, and as she goes, we go.”

Unable to penetrate Northeastern’s defense, the Warriors’ frustration grew and their play quickly lost discipline. 

Halfway through the period, junior forward Emily Oosterveld wrapped her stick around Müller, bringing her to the ground, and headed to the box while the Huskies took their first of five power plays that night. 

Merrimack killed the penalty, but Northeastern made it difficult with its constant onslaught against senior netminder Emma Gorski. 

The two-goal lead held through the end of the frame, and when the teams returned to the ice , Husky domination continued. The Warriors were unable to get a shot until 9:51 into the second period, and Northeastern held them to just six shots on goal throughout the twenty minutes of play.

Meanwhile, the Huskies continued to challenge Gorski, notching 18 shots in the period, but the goalie kept her team alive. 

Despite its constant chippiness, Merrimack took just one penalty late in the frame, junior defenseman Natalie Nemes for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the Huskies struggled to settle into the power play and the second period ended just the same as it started. 

Merrimack headed into the third period ready to do whatever they needed to stop the Huskies’ momentum, and just thirty seconds into the frame, senior defenseman Teghan Inglis took a penalty for hooking. 

While the Warriors were successful in holding their opponent at bay while they were down a player, the five-on-four advantage gave Northeastern the traction it needed to widen the gap on the scoreboard. 

At 4:40 into the final frame, Müller weaved toward Gorski with the puck. In a similar fashion to the second goal of the game, Müller passed the puck off to Aurard at the doorstep and her one-touch shot brought the Huskies’ goal count up to three. The goal was Aurard’s 200th career point. 


Now with a wide margin between them and their opponents, the Huskies settled into a comfortable rhythm on the ice, while the only ‘shots’ the Warriors could take were the type that used their fists. 

Two minutes after running down an Inglis interference call, the Warriors landed a major penalty when Nemes clocked Aurard upside the head. Nemes received a game misconduct for the attack and was ejected from the game. 

“We knew they were going to take a lot of penalties today, which they granted us our wish,” Carpenito said. “They’re the dirtiest team in the league, as far as I’m concerned.” 

Leading into the major, it had already looked like Northeastern was on a power play, so it was inevitable that they’d capitalize on the advantage. 

Senior forward Katy Knoll passed the puck to Müller at the edge of the neutral zone and Müller dropped it off to sophomore forward Skylar Irving before heading in for a line change. With an open window in the right corridor, Irving speeded toward the net and sniped the puck top shelf. Knoll’s assist marked her 100th career point.

Still fighting off the major penalty, the Warriors were unable to get any relief from the Husky barrage as the home team advanced on Gorski once more. 

With half the power play remaining, Müller made history. In a hat trick goal, the captain secured her 249th career point to tie the Northeastern program scoring record, putting her on par with Kendall Coyne (Schofield), who graduated from the program in 2016. 

From the corner of the offensive zone, Knoll and Müller advanced together toward the net, passing back and forth as they closed in on Gorski. Müller took a low angle, whipping the puck in the back of the net for her third goal and fifth point of the night. 

“[It feels] pretty special. [Schofield] is an amazing human; she broke so many barriers, she still does,” Müller said. “I look up to her. Having my name up there with her is really crazy.”

With the end of the game closing in and the tension between the two teams at an all-time high, Northeastern took its first and only penalty with only 2:42 remaining when senior forward Peyton Anderson was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. 

The player deficit gave Merrimack the window to finally get on the board. After skating around senior defenseman Megan Carter’s attempted block, Inglis tipped the puck over Philips and under the crossbar to cut Northeastern’s lead to four. 

Both sides remained at even strength for the final minute and a half and neither gave up enough space for the other to score again. 

Northeastern’s Saturday afternoon victory, littered with milestones and records, punched its ticket to the Hockey East semifinal, where it will host cross-town rival Boston College. The Eagles will travel to Matthews Arena Wednesday night for a 6 p.m. faceoff.