‘Our goals don’t change.’ As Alina Mueller era ends, Northeastern women’s hockey team will look to defensive leadership next year

Northeastern womens hockey goalie saves shot made by Boston College player
National goalie of the year Gwyneth Philips will return to lead the Huskies next season. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

DULUTH, Minnesota—Even as they were coming to grips with the end of the Alina Mueller era, the Northeastern women’s hockey team was looking ahead to a future that will be focused on the defensive end.

The Huskies (34-3-1) ended a third straight run to the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four on Friday with a 3-0 loss to defending champion Ohio State. Next season, for the first time in a half-dozen years, they will look to contend without Mueller, Northeastern’s team captain and all-time leading scorer with 254 points. 

On Saturday, Mueller finished as a runner-up for the Patty Kazmaier national player of the year award, which went to Ohio State senior defender Sophie Jaques.

Alina Mueller on the ice, shouting in joy
Team captain Alina Mueller leaves as the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

“It amazes me what she’s accomplished,” Northeastern coach Dave Flint said. “I won’t say I’ll never coach another player like Alina, because I said I’d never have a player like Kendall come through the door again.”

Of course, Flint was talking about Kendall Coyne Schofield, who won the Patty Kazmaier as a Northeastern senior in 2016. 

“And then Alina came. But she’s really tough to replace,” Flint said.

The same goes for her linemates, Chloé Aurard and Maureen Murphy. The three graduate students—Mueller (60 points with 27 goals this season), Murphy (55 points, 20 goals) and Aurard (54 points, 20 goals)—each ranked among the top eight scorers in NCAA women’s hockey this season. They combined for 669 career points, making Northeastern the second school in Division 1 history to have a trio of active 200-point scorers. 

“We’re obviously going to be a different team when you have 660-something points go out the door with the leadership and all that that they brought to the program,” Flint said. “But our goals don’t change. We want to win a Hockey East championship, get to the NCAA tournament and all of that. We’ll look different on the ice but we’re still going to have a strong team.”

Returning Key Players

Megan Carter



Peyton Cullaton



Katy Knoll



Gwyneth Philips



Taze Thompson



Lily Yovetich



The Huskies will lean on their experience at the back end, where defender Maude Poulin-Labelle is their lone departing regular. Gwyneth Philips, the national goaltender of the year, will be returning along with starting defenders Megan Carter and Lily Yovetich. Promising freshman defender Kristina Allard will be back after suffering a season-ending injury in November.

Katy Knoll (18 goals, 34 points), Peyton Anderson (11 goals, 20 points) and Taze Thompson (7 goals, 20 points) will be the top returning scorers up front. 

A couple of incoming freshmen will be helping to replace Mueller’s prolific line. Forward Allie Lalonde is the leading scorer (41 goals and 88 points in 50 games) for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the national high school powerhouse. She’ll be joined at Northeastern by Peyton Compton, her elite teammate on the U.S. under-18 national team.

“We’re hoping that their games translate quickly into the college game and they’re going to contribute right away, but you never know—it’s a big jump from where they’re at to college,” Flint says. “We’re also counting on some of our freshmen from this year to step into bigger roles.”

Several current and former Huskies figure to be part of the IIHF Women’s World Championship next month in Canada. Mueller and Aurard will be playing for Switzerland and France. Murphy and Philips have been invited to the U.S. team selection camp, and Flint—recently named NCAA women’s coach of the year for the second time in three seasons—will serve as an assistant coach at the camp. Former Huskies Aerin Frankel and Hayley Scamurra will also be competing for spots on the U.S. team.

Mueller was able to see the bigger picture of her record-setting time at Northeastern. She was a  three-time Hockey East player of the year and a top-10 Patty Kazmaier finalist for an unprecedented five straight years.

“It’s a roller coaster of emotion but that’s the beauty of sports,” she said the morning after the Huskies’ loss to Ohio State. “Sometimes it’s brutal, sometimes it’s magical. And I wouldn’t change anything. It was a great season, I have great people around me and I can leave this place really happy.

“I’m just super, super thankful. I wish I can stay forever. I love Northeastern, I love Boston, and not in my dreams could I have imagined that it would be like that. I’m just super thankful for anybody that was part of it and allowed me to live my dream. I will take this with me forever.”

Ian Thomsen is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at i.thomsen@northeastern.edu. Follow him on Twitter @IanatNU.