Northeastern entered Wednesday evening’s Hockey East Semifinal matchup the clear favorite against Boston College, riding a nineteen game winning streak and ranked fifth in the country. The Eagles had only scored one goal against Gwyneth Philips in their four previous meetings this season, giving the Huskies the edge.
After a hard-fought matchup between the familiar crosstown rivals, Northeastern won 3-0 to advance to their sixth straight Hockey East Championship, where they will face off against the Providence Friars.
Northeastern struck just 47 seconds after puck drop when Peyton Anderson took a pass from Megan Carter and shot the puck between her own legs from behind the net, banking the put off of BC’s netminder Abigail Levy’s pads into the net. Anderson knew her shot was unexpected, stating after the game the goal “was just a lucky bounce for me, we talked about just getting pucks on net and that was just in my head so I got lucky with that one.”
BC had an opportunity to get the equalizer soon after, when freshman defender Jules Constantinople was sent to the penalty box for hooking. But Northeastern’s penalty kill is one of the best in the country for a reason. The Huskies put the pressure on the Eagles, pushing them back into their defensive zone and finished off the penalty without allowing a single shot. Alina Muller was perfectly set up to score a shorthanded goal on a pass from her linemate Chloe Aurard, but couldn’t connect. Still, the Huskies didn’t allow a single shot during the penalty kill.
The rest of the period both teams settled in, with fantastic saves from both Northeastern goaltender Gwyneth Philips and Levy on the other side of the rink. The Huskies had a burst of offense in the last two minutes of the frame but couldn’t send the puck in, heading to the second period winning 1-0.
BC came out with a vengeance in the second period, knowing they couldn’t allow Northeastern to run away with the score. Six minutes into the period, Katie Pyne was able to send the puck sliding in past Philips to tie the game. The BC bench erupted, but their euphoria was short lived — the referees promptly headed into the box to review the play for goalie interference. After the review, the officials determined that just before Pyne had scored, she had stepped into Philips, pushing her onto her stomach. After a lengthy review, the call was in. No goal.
Under two minutes later, Anderson took a pass from forward Taze Thompson in the corner on the rink and made yet another physics defying shot, shooting the puck alsofrom in line with the net for her second goal. BC’s momentum was officially crushed, and Flint called that sequence the “pivotal point of the game”.
Northeastern dominated puck possession the rest of the game, spending the majority of the time in their offensive zone getting shot after shot off at Levy. In their desperation, BC started to play more aggressively and gave up two penalties. The Huskies played well on the power play but couldn’t convert, keeping the score at 2-0.
With two minutes left in the game, the Eagles decided to pull Levy from net in hopes of getting a goal on the board, reminiscent of their lone goal strategy in the Beanpot finals. This time, however, Northeastern would be the team to take advantage of the empty net, as Alina Müller went on a rush and smoothly shot the puck to make the score 3-0, making history as she did it.
With that goal, Müller officially became the leading points scorer in program history, passing Kendell Coyne-Schofield’s mark of 249. Müller, as always, was humble in her response.
“I think once we’re done with this season it’s going to mean a lot… my teammates were happy for me, it means a lot,” Müller said. “I couldn’t be here without them so [it] means a lot. I just hope we can win the last game of my career, my college career, so as long as we keep winning we are on a good track.”
Head coach Dave Flint was proud of his star athlete’s success.
“I didn’t think anybody would come close to Kendell’s record,” Flint said. “It’s a testament to [Müller], how great of a player she is.”
The buzzer sounded and the band played Hey Baby as the Huskies skated off the ice, Müller waving her stick at the band as she skated into the tunnel. The Huskies will look to continue their success on Saturday at noon at Matthews Arena against Providence, the team that handed them their last loss back in November.
“It’s exciting, I’ve been lucky enough to play in four hockey east championships now on Saturday and[Müller’s] fifth so it’s exciting now that we’re usedHuskies down BC in semifinal as Müller surpasses Coyne as program’s leading point scorerto it and we know what we gotta do,” Anderson said.
Northeastern will be looking for an unprecedented sixth straight title and WRBB Sports will be on the call Saturday at 12 p.m. Tune in live on 104.9 FM in Boston, or anywhere at wrbbsports.com/listen-live.