Women’s Division I College Hockey: Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel named 2020-21 USCHO Player of the Year

Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel is the 2020-21 USCHO Player of the Year.

Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel adds USCHO Player of the Year to her impressive 2020-21 resume. Photo: Jim Pierce

The case for Player of the Year was not as clear cut this season. We went back and forth on who we thought deserved this honor this year. What we came back to is that the final two teams likely would have made it to the championship game had they not had their top scorers in Daryl Watts and Alina Mueller – the other two players we talked about as contenders. However it’s far less certain that Northeastern plays in their first-ever title match without Frankel in the net.

That is said with all due respect to her teammates, who are phenomenal. At the micro level, Frankel kept them in the semifinal game as they struggled to adjust to UMD’s speed and pace of play and gave them a chance to mount a comeback to win the game.

At a macro level, Northeastern’s style of play evolved because of her solid presence in net. The Huskies have been able to push pace – at even strength and on the penalty kill – because they had absolute faith in her between the pipes. Skylar Fontaine and the rest of the Huskies’ defense are able to play more involved roles in the offensive zone because they aren’t afraid of giving up quick transitions and breakaways.

For her phenomenal season, Frankel was named Hockey East Player of the Year. Statistically, she led the country in goals against average (0.81), save percentage (.966), wins (20), winning percentage (.891) and shutouts (9). Her goals against average was good for third best season in NCAA history.

The two-time First-Team All-American holds Northeastern career program records in games played, minutes, goals against average, save percentage, shutouts, and wins. A three-time Hockey East Goaltender of the Year and MVP of the Hockey East Championship, Frankel’s career save percentage .947 is tied for second all-time in NCAA history.

Frankel set a new standard at Northeastern and in Hockey East, and is one of the most accomplished goaltenders of the past decade. Having her in net is the building block upon which Northeastern’s current success has been built.