‘She looked at the whole picture.’ Patience pays off for Northeastern hockey goalie Gwyneth Philips

Industrial engineering student Gwyneth Philips, E’24, is taking on another challenge by becoming the dominant goaltender in our women’s Division 1 ice hockey team.

This article originally appeared on Northeastern Global News. It was published by Ian Thomsen. Main photo: Gwyn Philips has been waiting three years for her chance to lead the Huskies. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Gwyneth Philips is replacing the dominant goaltender in women’s Division 1 ice hockey. It is a fact that she acknowledges. A challenge she’s been waiting years to take on.

“I feel a lot of pressure because I’m stepping into a new role,” says Philips, a senior, as the Huskies open their fall training camp.

Philips is taking over from Aerin Frankel, the Huskies’ starter for the past five years (which includes an extra season sanctioned by the NCAA amid the COVID-19 pandemic). Frankel established all of the career records at Northeastern while earning the inaugural Goalie of the Year awards nationally over the past two seasons. She received the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the sport’s top player of 2020-21.

There are no bigger skates to fill in women’s hockey this season. The Huskies are confident that Philips can help them contend for a sixth straight Hockey East title and their first national championship—despite the departures of Frankel, her fellow All-American Skylar Fontaine, and 10 other veterans who have moved on from last year’s 31-5-2 team that reached a second straight Frozen Four.

“It’s a lot of pressure on her from the outside,” says Northeastern coach Dave Flint. “But I don’t think there’s any pressure inside our team. We all know how good she is.”

Gwyn Philips, wearing a Northeastern hockey jersey, wraps her hockey stick with black tapeGwyn Phillips wears a hockey goalie helment and hockey jersery

Philips posted impressive stats while serving as backup to Aerin Frankel, the nation’s dominant goalie. Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

In 20 appearances (including 13 starts) over the past three seasons, Philips went 13-1 overall with a .969 save percentage, a goals against average of .64 and six shutouts—numbers that compare favorably to Frankel’s.

“It was the most popular question this summer: ‘What are you going to do in goal?’” Flint says. “And I just said, ‘I’ve got a really good goalie, she’s been a saint for being patient and waiting for her time, and we’re in a really good spot.’

“I’ve said all along that if she had left here, she could have started for almost any team in the NCAA.”

More than 9,500 Division 1 athletes transferred schools in 2021 alone, thanks to the “transfer portal” that has allowed free movement since 2018. The Huskies are relieved that Philips withstood that trend when Frankel returned last season to Northeastern after trying out for the U.S. Olympic team.

“A lot of kids would have been out the door,” Flint says. “She thought, ‘Aerin’s going to make the Olympic team so now it’s my time.’ And then all of a sudden Aerin doesn’t make the Olympic team, she’s back, and it’s like the rug was pulled out from under. But Gwyn showed up every day, she worked hard, she kept a positive attitude and she never once said anything to me about transferring.”

It wasn’t easy. “Especially when everyone tells you you could be somewhere else playing,” Philips says. “But it never crossed my mind to leave, just because I love this school, I love the program, I love the girls. Even though I didn’t play that much my first three years, I still have two more years to get a lot of ice time in.”

She says she wanted to see through the investment she has made in her degree in industrial engineering, which will have included two co-ops by the time she graduates.

Read full story at Northeastern Global News

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering