Visit the student section at Matthews Arena during a Northeastern women’s hockey game, and odds are you will find at least one shirt that says, “Katy Knoll doing Katy Knoll things.”
What are “Katy Knoll things?” Scoring game-winning goals.
The Huskies’ fifth-year forward from Amherst, N.Y., has 20 career game-winning goals, including four this season. The mark is second in school history, tying her with Kendall Coyne Schofield. Knoll’s latest was an overtime tally that lifted Northeastern to a 4-3 comeback victory over New Hampshire on Saturday, earning her Hockey East Player of the Week honors.
Her penchant for coming through in the clutch spurred a broadcaster on WRBB, Northeastern’s student radio station, to coin the saying, “Katy Knoll doing Katy Knoll things.” Knoll’s parents, Dan and Sue, who attend every game, had the T-shirts made.
Despite the popularity of the saying, Knoll is humble.
“Honestly I just try to do what I can,” said Knoll. “One thing that people can never question is my effort towards plays.”
Knoll’s tenacity is shared by the team, who have which has won seven consecutive games heading into Friday night’s game against league-leading UConn. Though skating through scoring droughts and uncharacteristic losses early in the season, the Huskies (20-9-1) have turned things around.
“We’ve always tried to have our identity be that relentless pressure on the puck,” said Knoll. “We’re always making it really hard for other teams to play against us. I think maybe we got away from that a little bit in the first semester, but I think so far in the second semester we’ve done a good job at picking that back up and I think we’re really sticking to it.”
Sitting third in the league with six regular-season games remaining, including against UConn and Boston College, the teams ahead of them, winning a sixth straight regular-season title is a real possibility. Winning Friday’s battle of the Huskies would go a long way towards making that happen.
“I think not only are they big Hockey East points, but every weekend at this point is kind of a turning point in the season,” said Knoll. “Every game is super important in the second semester. We haven’t played UConn in a bit, so I think we’re excited to get another crack at them.”
Knoll has been a key cog in Northeastern’s offense her entire career. Playing every game in 2019-20 and scoring 26 points, she made the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and Hockey East Third Team. The next season, she was fourth on the team in scoring, and came alive in the postseason, picking up points in the Hockey East quarterfinal, NCAA Tournament quarterfinal, and NCAA Tournament semifinal. As a junior, four of her ten goals were game-winners. Last season brought career highs in goals (18) and assists (16), with five game-winning tallies.
An area of consistent improvement has been how Knoll sees the game. Her defense in both Beanpot games last month were as dynamic as her offense.
“I always thought that I was able to read plays really well,” said Knoll. “Once I got to the college level that has only improved. I didn’t have a choice. It’s one of those things you have to get better at as you go on and as the teams you play against get better.”
After Northeastern’s season ends, Knoll’s will turn her focus to her master’s degree in accounting, which she will finish in August, and then studying for the Certified Public Accountant exam. A lifelong fan of math, she enjoyed accounting classes she took at the start of her undergraduate business administration program, and decided to make it her focus.
“I figured that for a lot of people, accounting is probably their least favorite class,” said Knoll. “I figured that since I liked it so much and I did well in it that it was a field that maybe I should try. It just kind of clicked for me.”
At that point, “Katy Knoll things” will involve a lot of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. For now, she hopes they include scoring more game-winning goals.
“I have a whole group of people who have my back and I have had theirs for a very long time now,” said Knoll. “I think that’s something that’s really irreplaceable.”
Award candidates announced
On Wednesday, two Hockey East goaltenders were named semifinalists for the Women’s National Goalie of the Year Award, given by the Hockey Commissioners Association. Last year’s winner, Northeastern’s Gwyneth Philips, was named to the list, which was selected by coaches and media members. UConn’s Megan Warrener joins Philips on the list. Last week, the HCA released the Women’s Rookie of the Year watch list, which includes BC’s Sammy Taber, Northeastern’s Allie Lalonde, and Assumption’s Jenna Chaplain. Award winners will be announced at the Women’s Frozen Four in March.
Kat Cornetta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.