Northeastern's Alina Mueller has been a top-10 Patty Kazmaier award finalist for five straight seasons
Mueller has made the top 10 five consecutive times, and this year is now the second time that she has made the top three
BOSTON — Northeastern graduate student Alina Müller has dominated women's college hockey for the past five years. She has made the Patty Kazmaier top-10 finalist list in each of her five seasons with the Huskies, and in 2022-23 has made the top three for the second time in her career.
The native of Switzerland burst onto the NCAA scene in 2018-19, where she posted a whopping 51 points as just a freshman. She then continued to have consistent success over her next four seasons. The only year where she didn't lead her team in points was in 2021-22, and that's because she didn't play the entire season for the Huskies since she earned the opportunity to play for Switzerland in the Beijing Olympics.
In 2022-23, Müller has 60 points (27g, 33a) over 37 games, is a team captain, and helped propel Northeastern to it's sixth consecutive championship in Hockey East. She even passed up Northeastern legend Kendall Coyne-Schofield this season for career points scored with 254 and counting in the week leading up to the Frozen Four. Atop those feats, the center was recently named Hockey East Player of the Year and is fourth in the nation in total points (60), fourth in goals scored (27), and fourth in points-per-game average (1.62).
The Huskies are 34-2-1 this season, and recently defeated No. 4 Yale to head to the Frozen Four. They'll have to take on No. 1 Ohio State in the semifinal round on at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 17 in Duluth.
"I like how we made progress over the season," said Müller about her fifth and final year at Northeastern. "We had a lot of newcomers that had to learn the systems and we kind of had to teach them what college hockey is all about. Throughout the season, they adapted really well, they fit in right away. We really tried to focus on one game at a time, one week at a time. We're very motivated to go all the way."
The Huskies came in at No. 6 in the final USCHO poll of the season on March 6.
The native of Winterthur, Switzerland, (located just outside of Zürich) started playing hockey around 6 years old. She played with boys teams for quite some time, as there weren't many opportunities for high level female hockey players in her area growing up. Müller grew up alongside her older brother, Mirco, who was a first round NHL pick in 2013 and now plays professionally in Europe.
"There's one major women's league that we have in Switzerland, but it's just a women's league, not a girls league ... the girls have to play with boys still," said the graduate forward. "That's pretty much why I decided to come and play college hockey and see how amazing women's hockey is."
Müller started competing for Team Switzerland at a young age and appeared in the 2014 Sochi Olympics at just 15 years old. The Swiss won bronze that year and she officially became the youngest hockey player to win a medal at the games. Since then, Müller has appeared in two more Olympic Games (PyeongChang - 2018 and Beijing - 2022) and regularly competes in the Women's World Championships every year for her home country.
"My first ever tournament, Sochi, was the Olympics in 2014, so going right into there I got the whole experience as a young player and it was very special," said Müller. "A highlight for me is always playing Team Canada, Team USA, playing the best players in the world and seeing how strong and fast they are and trying to become better and closer [as a team] to them."
And once she came over to the USA for college, she dominated the NCAA almost immediately, so making the decision further down the road to eventually come back for a fifth and final season and use her extra year of eligibility (granted because of the Covid-19 pandemic) seemed like a no-brainer.
For the second time in her career, Alina Mueller is a Top-Three Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Finalist.— Northeastern Women’s Hockey (@GoNUwhockey) March 8, 2023
📰: https://t.co/7s8mTT9MkH#KazMoneyMueller | #HowlinHuskies pic.twitter.com/IINpVpePhs
"This place is family to me, and it makes me feel like a professional and I'm treated like a professional. I have amazing teammates and I've developed as a person and as a player and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity," said Müller, who joked that she wished she could stay at Northeastern longer because she loves it so much.
And not only is the hockey player a standout on the ice, she is also a standout in the classroom. She earned her undergraduate degree in behavioral neuroscience, with a minor in exercise science, and is now in the rehabilitation studies program in graduate school. She participated in a movement neuroscience lab that utilized virtual reality to study human movement, motor control, and how the nervous systems plays a role in athletes and training.
"There is not a greater player, leader, person in the NCAA."— Northeastern Women’s Hockey (@GoNUwhockey) March 8, 2023
2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winner @KendallCoyne shares her thoughts on Alina Mueller!
📽️: ESPNEWS #KazMoneyMueller | #HowlinHuskies pic.twitter.com/n9kjwZm0xK
As of now, Müller is planning on finishing her master's degree in August and is currently planning on playing professionally in the U.S.
Northeastern will have a tough task ahead in playing Ohio State in the Frozen Four, but the Switzerland native said her team is ready to leave it all on the ice and play their hearts out in the semifinal matchup.