Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports

BOSTON — It was almost too perfect.

In their final game at Matthews Arena, Northeastern’s graduate student top line of Chloé Aurard, Alina Müller, and Marueen Murphy led their team to a sixth-straight Hockey East championship. Murphy finished with three assists and Müller and Aurard notched a goal and an assist apiece, as the Huskies knocked off Providence 4-1. 

The Friars were one of the only teams to give Northeastern trouble in the regular season, handing them one of their two losses and their lone tie this year. Northeastern’s most recent loss was on Nov. 15, when the Friars defeated them 3-0. 

This time, the Huskies dominated the pace of play, and put together one of their strongest 60 minute performances when they needed it the most. 

The Friars struck first in the opening frame on a deflection from the stick of graduate student forward Noemi Neubauerova. The play was created off a missile from the blue line by senior defender Lauren DeBlois, but that was the only time Providence would score. 

After giving up the opening goal, the Huskies locked down the neutral zone and forced Providence to the perimeter, limiting high quality shot attempts to a tee. 

Northeastern’s equalizer came eight minutes later when Müller, waiting on the doorstep, backhanded a rebound shot past sophomore netminder Hope Walinski. Walinski had been the hottest goaltender in the tournament up to that point, with a 100-minute shutout streak intact entering the matchup.

“We usually want to answer right away with a goal if we get scored on and we were able to do that again,” Müller said. “That’s really important and that says how good of a team we are.”

Müller, fresh off of breaking the Northeastern program scoring record in the semifinal matchup against BC, was named the tournament MVP, totaling five goals and three assists in three games.

The Friars had a few high-danger shots at the end of the first period, but Northeastern’s netminder Gwyneth Philips saved every one of them. Philips finished the game making 20-of-21 saves, and totaled a .962 save percentage overall in the tournament. 

“[Philips] came up with some big saves when the game was tight,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint.”That’s what you need to win championships, timely saves and consistency. … just really proud of the season she’s put in and the team feels really good with her in net.”

Senior defender Megan Carter broke the deadlock 13 minutes into the second period with a seeing-eye shot from distance. The goal came 15 seconds after Northeastern went scoreless on their first power play opportunity, but they held the zone and kept sustained offensive pressure when 5-on-5 play began.

With 24 seconds left in the second period, Providence graduate student forward Caroline Peterson sent to the box for a slashing call following a chaotic stretch of play in Philips’ crease. It was a surprising penalty call given the fact that the officials had been letting both teams off the hook for other more obvious plays throughout the entire game.

Just under a minute into the third, with Northeastern still on the power play, Aurard poked in the rebound of a Murphy shot for a power play goal to make the score 3-1. Northeastern has now scored multiple power play goals in four of their past five games, and is 9-25 since Feb. 14.

“We are all set up to adapt to any situation, and that’s huge on the power play,” Aurard said. “Any player on the top unit is able to score and shoot the puck so I think that’s pretty huge.”

Holding a 3-1 lead with 19 minutes to go in the final period, Northeastern just needed to keep the puck away from the high-scoring forwards of the Friars. While Providence did have a few decent opportunities in the third, they were only able to muster nine shots on goal. 

Sophomore forward and Harvard transfer Taze Thompson tacked on an insurance goal on the power play for the Huskies with 2:38 to go in the third, and from there the clock ticked down toward the championship win.

When the final buzzer sounded, Northeastern players ripped their gloves off, threw their sticks in the air, and mobbed Philips in the blue paint. Named to the all-tournament team for Northeastern were Murphy, Philips, Carter, and senior forward Peyton Anderson, who scored twice in the semifinal matchup against BC. Junior defender Brooke Becker was the lone Friar skater named to the all-tournament team as well.

“I’m extremely proud of this group because there was a lot of talk about us losing ten veteran players, we’re losing Aerin [Frankel]… we showed everybody and we proved everybody wrong,” Müller said. “We believe in family and culture and that’s what brings us championships.”

Northeastern has made an appearance in the last seven Hockey East Tournament title games and have now won six in a row, an unprecedented feat in the history of the conference. As they skate toward their final games in a Northeastern uniform, Müller and Aurard have built and maintained a dynasty that may never be seen again in the NCAA.

“It’s hard to win one championship… they’ve won five,” said Flint. “It’s something they can look back on and be proud of… I know I will.”

Northeastern’s next challenge is the NCAA Tournament, with a berth in the Frozen Four and a national title up for grabs. Their opponent will be decided Sunday during the selection show, and WRBB will have live coverage wherever the team is heading next weekend.