Northeastern Hockey East semifinal domination fueled by Anderson odd-angle goals, Müller program record


Izzy Harris

Sophomore forward Taze Thompson celebrates after a goal from senior forward Peyton Anderson. Thompson assisted on both of Anderson’s goals in the Hockey East semifinal matchup against Boston College.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

Wednesday night, Northeastern and Boston College took to the ice for a Hockey East Semifinal matchup, the fifth meeting of the pair this season. Although the Eagles have been gaining momentum against the Huskies each game, with a spot in the finals on the line, Northeastern destroyed any chance they had. 

Behind two lucky goals from senior forward Peyton Anderson and a last-second empty netter from graduate student forward and captain Alina Müller, Northeastern tallied its twentieth straight win in a 3-0 domination over the Eagles, bringing them to 5-0 against Boston College this season. Müller’s goal marked her 250th career point and secured the record of the most career points in program history. 

Northeastern immediately broke into the offensive zone, pushing toward the net to put pressure on BC graduate student goaltender and captain Abigail Levy — and it quickly paid off.

Forty-seven seconds into the game, a shot from senior defenseman Megan Carter went wide. Anderson grabbed the puck off the board behind the net and backhanded it toward Levy. Through a narrow gap between the netminder and the post, the puck ricocheted off Levy’s skate and into the net to give the Huskies the early lead. 

“We talked about just getting pucks on net and that was just kind of in my head, so I got lucky with that one,” Anderson said. 

Northeastern continued to hold that momentum through the opening stretch. 

Just two minutes after the goal, Jules Constantinople was sent to the box for hooking, but BC was unable to notch a shot on goal throughout the five-on-four advantage. Meanwhile, Northeastern took short-handed attempts toward the net and kept the Eagles from controlling the puck for more than a few moments. 

Halfway through the frame, the tide turned. BC began ramping up its offensive pressure, finally beginning to test Northeastern senior netminder Gwyneth Philips. 

Northeastern started to break down BC’s offense again as the clock ticked down on the period, but the Eagles returned to the ice for the second period ready for the puck drop and won the initial faceoff to pick up their pace once more. 

And at 12:35, that upswing paid off and the Eagles tied the game — or so they thought. Off a centering feed from sophomore forward Abby Newhook, sophomore forward Katie Pyne redirected the puck low into the net past a sprawling Philips. But after a lengthy review, the referees deemed that Pyne had actually pushed Philips down and the score was revoked, leaving Northeastern with the one-goal lead.

“That was a pivotal point in the game,” Flint said. “I saw Gwyn face down and I saw her put her arms up and I knew obviously there was some sort of contact. I was asking the players and nobody was really giving me a definitive answer, so I took it upon myself. I said, ‘well, let’s challenge it.’”

Although the call was overturned, the event highlighted just how dangerous the Eagles were, making Northeastern all the more determined to widen the gap on the scoreboard.

Flipping the script on BC, the Huskies hustled the puck out of their defensive zone, and it only took them another minute to double their lead. 

Similar to her first goal, Anderson, assisted by sophomore forward Taze Thompson and junior defenseman Abbey Marohn, found herself situated behind the goal line and slapped the puck toward the crease. Once again, Levy was caught off-guard, and the shot bounced off the inside of the netminder’s pad and into the goal. The two goals tied Anderson’s career high, the cherry on top of her best season yet. 

“If I was on the other side of that, that’s a crusher,” Flint said. “You think you’ve tied the game and then a couple minutes later, you’re down two. It’s a huge swing, and it’s tough to recover from that.”

After their perceived tie slipping away to a 2-0 deficit, the Eagles were not happy. Their play quickly got chippy, and with six minutes left in the period, graduate student forward and captain Kelly Brown took a penalty for roughing. 

Northeastern’s sixth-ranked power play circled the offensive zone, but it was an even match against BC’s sixth-ranked penalty kill and Levy grabbed the few shots that snuck through. 

Boston College continued to increase its aggression through the frame, but the buzzer sounded without another penalty on either side. 

Despite the fluke BC goal, the second period was clean and dominant for the Huskies. The  offensive energy the Eagles responded with after the first goal had clearly dissipated —  they were only able to notch three shots against the Huskies throughout the 20 minutes.

Northeastern strength carried into the final frame, unwilling to let its guard down against the rival team. Although BC ramped up its aggression against the Huskies in an effort to regain offensive control, this only served as a detriment. 

At 14:09 into the period, the Eagles went down a player when junior forward Caroline Goffredo headed to the box for body checking. BC built a defensive wall around Levy, blocking all but one of Northeastern’s shots, and killed off the penalty easily. 

The save was just one of 38 saves the graduating netminder, who holds the second-best save percentage in the country at .947, made that night to finish off the final game of her career. 

“She’s done a great job for us. We’ve had some great goaltenders come through our program and she’s up there with them. She’s a kid that has battled for the three years that she’s been with us and I’m really proud of her for her effort,” said BC head coach Katie Crowley. “She’s left some of her legacy here with our program and with the players that are coming after her.”

In a last-ditch effort to secure a spot in the Hockey East championship, Levy came out from between the pipes with 2:14 left in regulation. With the extra skater, BC was finally able to reclaim the ice, but a defensive zone turnover from Northeastern junior defenseman Lily Yovetich cut its time short. Yovetich, who had been shutting down BC’s leading scorer — senior forward and captain Hannah Bilka — all night long, passed the puck off to Müller. The captain carried it through the neutral zone and took a shot from the center line, sending the puck past four BC defenseman and into the net for her 250th career point, the most in program history. The record surpasses former Husky Kendall Coyne’s 249 points, which she accumulated from 2011-2016.

“I didn’t think anybody would ever come close to Kendall’s record, and Alina’s done that, she’s surpassed it,” Flint said. “So it’s a testament to her and how great of a player she is.”

Müller was recently named Hockey East Player of the Year, her third career title tying a Hockey East record, but that was not the only Husky honor given this week. Head coach Dave Flint was titled Hockey East Coach of the year and three Huskies — Müller, Philips and graduate student forward Maureen Murphy — became top-10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier award for the best player in the NCAA in women’s college hockey. Philips, the Hockey East Goaltender of the Year, was also named a top-three finalist for Goalie of the Year nation-wide, and claimed her tenth shutout of the season in Wednesday’s game.

Northeastern’s 3-0 win sealed its place in the Hockey East championship game for the seventh straight year, and the Huskies will now go for their sixth straight conference title. 

“I just hope we can win the last [Hockey East] game of my college career — so as long as we keep winning, we’re on a good track,” Müller said. “[I’m] just excited to play for a trophy and celebrate with the team. It’s the best thing in hockey.”

Puck drops at Matthews Arena at 12 p.m. Saturday when Northeastern hosts the tournament No. 3 seed Providence College Friars (22-10-4, 15-8-4 HE) in a bid for the Hockey East trophy.