An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. The 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 27. More information will follow.
A delayed start to the season thanks to the pandemic initially knocked Northeastern standout Alina Müller out of her rhythm.
Müller, the star junior forward, has since found her groove down the stretch and was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top women’s college player in the nation.
“It definitely took me a longer time getting into this season compared to other seasons,” Müller said. “At the beginning, it was hard just to find chemistry and also to get your legs going because you’d have a week off, then just a week of practice and a couple weeks without a game. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it made us ready for what has come next. We were really lucky to have regular games during the second half of the season and we’re really at our best now.”
Müller is leading the way for Northeastern yet again, as a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for a third straight season. Müller, who became the first Northeastern freshman to be named to the top-10 during the 2018-19 campaign, was a top-three finalist last season.
Müller joins teammates Aerin Frankel and Skylar Fontaine as the first-ever trio to make the top-10 in program history.
“Of course, I’m very happy and I worked hard for this,” Müller said. “It’s very special to be nominated with two others from our team. It’s very cool to see nice people get recognized.”
As a sophomore, Müller scored 27 goals and 66 points — tied for second in the nation — when she was named a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Müller, a two-time Olympian with the Swiss national team, is the fourth player from Switzerland to be named a top-10 finalist and first, other than herself, since Lara Stalder in 2017.
“I just see how big of an award this is at the college level,” Müller said. “No one other than U.S. or Canadian players have won [the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award] so far, so that would definitely be something special. I have so much respect for this league and NCAA women’s ice hockey.”
Müller, a native of Winterthur, Switzerland, was back home in 2020 when she watched an online special on USA Hockey’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Müller was a finalist, along with Wisconsin’s Abby Roque and Clarkson’s Élizabeth Giguère, the eventual award winner.
“It was very cool to share that moment with my parents,” Müller said. “It was different because it was virtual, but they were very proud of me. I’m just very grateful to be able to play here in this league. To be successful is even more special.”
Müller finished the regular season this year tied for No. 1 in the nation in scoring with nine goals and 31 points in 19 games. Northeastern is 30-0-1 throughout the past two seasons when Müller scores at least one goal. She established a single-season program record last season with 10 game-winning goals.
Müller, who ranks eighth in program history with 148 points, is the second-fastest Northeastern player since 2002 to reach 100 career points, behind only Kendall Coyne Schofield.
Dave Flint, who has coached at Northeastern since 2008, called Müller the most complete player he has ever coached.
“Not only is she gifted offensively, but she is just as good on the defensive side of the puck,” Flint said. “Our offense runs through Alina and she is a huge part of our success. That is evident in that we are 30-0-1 the last two seasons when she scores a goal. As great of a hockey player she is, she is an even better person and teammate who always puts others before herself.”
Last season, Northeastern captured the Hockey East Conference championship and the No. 3-ranked Huskies were set to face Princeton in the NCAA quarterfinals last March before the pandemic canceled the tournament.
Müller is grateful for her individual success this season, but she wants more for her teammates this March.
“To be honest, I don’t think I would be in first place [in scoring] if every team would’ve played as much as we did,” Müller said. “It’s definitely not my best, personally, so far, but the best part is coming up, so I’m very excited for playoffs. Of course, this season, you have to be grateful and thankful that you’re able to play games. That’s really what I’ve tried to do, not focus on scoring, or being on the scoring list, but just to play for all of my friends at home who can’t play right now. There are so many people I know that cannot touch the ice, so individual awards aren’t in my mind this season. I just want to enjoy the game I love so much with my teammates.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.