Northeastern keeps the crown — Huskies win sixth straight Hockey East tournament championship


Ethan Valery

Graduate student forward and captain Alina Müller scores the equalizer in the Hockey East tournament championship against Providence College. Northeastern defeated the Friars 4-1 to take home the trophy.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

After winning the Beanpot and the Hockey East regular season title, Northeastern had just one more goal on its checklist — winning the Hockey East tournament for the sixth consecutive year. The Huskies had dominated Merrimack College and Boston College during the first two rounds, but they were unsure whether Providence College would meet the same fate in the championship game. 

Providence was one of just two teams to hand the Huskies a loss this season — a devastating 3-0 shutout — and the only team to hold them to a tie. But Northeastern rallied back from those difficult games to deliver yet another tournament blowout and defeat the Friars 4-1 to claim its sixth straight Hockey East tournament trophy.

Müller hoists the Hockey East tournament trophy over her head. Saturday’s championship victory was the sixth straight Northeastern victory in the tournament. (Ethan Valery)

“There’s no secrets at this point in the season,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint after Wednesday’s semifinal matchup. “We all know what the other one does, how we play.”

From the second the puck touched the ice, competition was fierce. 

Northeastern settled into the offensive zone first, tacking on a few shots against sophomore goaltender Hope Walinski, but couldn’t get the right angle on the puck. 

After struggling to put pressure on the Huskies, Providence got on the board with its first shot of the afternoon.

At 6:51 into the game, senior defenseman Lauren DeBlois fired the puck from the blue line. Graduate student forward Noemi Neubauerova tipped the shot over the pad of senior goaltender Gwyneth Philips to give the Friars an early lead. 

“Any time you’re in a championship game, you can get momentum on your side quick and that’s huge,” said Providence head coach Matt Kelly. “The next tough task is keeping momentum on your side. And it’s tough against a team like that.”

The score fueled the Friars, and they began to take over the ice, but it only took a few minutes for Northeastern to regain its footing. 

A foreshadowing post shot from graduate student forward and captain Alina Müller gave hope back to the Huskies, and just two minutes later, she sealed the deal. 

Closing in on Walinski — in just her fourth career start — graduate student forward Chloé Aurard aimed low. Her shot bounced off the netminder’s pad, but Müller swept up the rebound and backhanded it into the open back door. 

“We’ve been down before, and we knew we just have to be patient, keep working hard,” Müller said. “[We] usually want to answer right away with a goal when we get scored on and we were able to do that again.”

With the score knotted at one, physicality between the two teams picked up, each desperate to come out on top. In the waning minutes of the period, a hard collision into the boards sent Providence junior forward Rachel Weiss into the tunnels due to injury, putting the Friars down one of their top centers. However, this only made them feistier. 

The second period kicked off with immediate aggression. Players went down all across the ice, and the first penalty of the game was finally called five minutes into the middle frame. 

The tripping minor on Providence graduate student forward Hunter Barnett gave the Huskies the first advantage of the night.

Northeastern’s power play got some good looks out front, but the Friars pressured the Huskies through the neutral zone, minimizing their scoring opportunities. 

The Huskies carried their control of the puck into even strength, and just 12 seconds after its power play ended, Northeastern took the lead. 

As the Huskies circled their offensive zone like sharks, graduate student forward Maureen Murphy dropped the puck off to senior defenseman Megan Carter near the blue line. Carter rocketed a shot through traffic that sailed past the outstretched arm of Walinski and inside the far post to give Northeastern the 2-1 lead. 

Northeastern’s second goal of the night lit a fire under the Friars, and they finally notched their first shot of the period eight minutes in. Although the teams had been evenly matched in the opening frame, Northeastern outshot Providence 13-6 in the second, marking a huge shift in momentum in favor of the home team. 

With 2:18 left in the frame, Northeastern sophomore forward Taze Thompson took a penalty for cross-checking, putting the Huskies down a player for their first time that afternoon. Despite the disadvantage, Northeastern got the first shot of Providence’s power play, and once Providence made its way towards Philips, it was unable to hold its position. The Huskies cleared the puck again and again, making light work of the two-minute minor. 

However, Providence couldn’t even make it through one whole power play; with seven seconds remaining in five-on-four play, Providence graduate student forward Caroline Peterson was sent to the box for slashing, meaning Northeastern would start the third period on a power play. 

“They’re a physical team,” Flint said. “If we didn’t play with them that way, if we didn’t match their physicality, sometimes it makes it really difficult.”

Less than a minute into the final frame, the Huskies capitalized on their advantage. 

Murphy took the initial shot, but it slipped between Walinski’s knees and was redirected sideways through the crease. Luckily for the Huskies, Aurard was ready at the net to tap the puck in and double Northeastern’s lead. 

The Huskies continued to put Walinski to work, punishing Providence with shots on goal. But the Friars got a chance at redemption when Northeastern junior defenseman Lily Yovetich headed into the box for tripping eight minutes into the period. 

Northeastern’s 91.9% penalty kill stayed steady, and after draining the clock on the Friar’s power play, the Huskies started killing time. 

One final penalty of the night — a cross-checking call against Providence junior forward Lindsay Bochna — gave the Huskies a huge opportunity to silence the Friars. 

Fifty-three seconds into the power play, graduate student defenseman Maude Poulin-Labelle sent in a shot, and sophomore forward Taze Thompson tipped it home for the Huskies’ fourth goal. 


As the clock ticked down, Providence pulled Walinski for the extra skater, but Northeastern continued to fire toward the empty net. The Huskies’ empty net shots went wide, but with such frequent clears down ice, the Friars didn’t have a chance at catching up and Northeastern claimed the Hockey East tournament title and trophy with a final score of 4-1. 

After the game, the Huskies claimed six of seven spots on the All-Tournament Team — Müller, Aurard and senior Peyton Anderson as forwards; Carter alongside Friars junior Brooke Becker as defensemen; and Philips as goaltender. Müller was also named MVP of the tournament for her five goals and three assists over the course of the three-game series. 

“I just try to play my best hockey and help the team win,” Müller said.

Northeastern’s sixth straight Hockey East tournament victory marks a feat no other team has ever matched and caps off the Huskies’ play on home ice for the season. The No. 5 Huskies will travel to New Haven, Connecticut Saturday afternoon to face No. 2 Yale (28-3-1, 19-2-1 ECAC) in the NCAA quarterfinals.