The schedule of opponents for the 2019-2020 Northeastern Men’s Hockey team was announced this afternoon. While we now know the different teams that the Huskies will line up against in the regular season, dates for each game were not announced with the release today.
While it is extremely puzzling that dates were not included with this release, we are running under the assumption that it is the result of the partnership with NESN, and dates for NESN networks picking up games have not been finalized. Adding credibility to this theory is the fact that the basketball schedule reveal yesterday had the same lack of dates. Even with this information pending, it is possible to fill in a lot of gaps in the schedule already with what we know. To their credit, in the press release NU did states that “Exact dates and times have yet to be set and will be announced once determined.”
- After not playing one last season, the Huskies will play an exhibition game against a Canadian collegiate school. Per the press release above, they will play Western Ontario in a home game at Matthews Arena. However it is unclear if the opening weekend at Union will be the first weekend of October, which is traditionally the exhibition weekend, or the weekend following (October 11th and 12th). The way the press release is worded, it appears as if Union will be played first, and then the exhibition game will be played.
- UPDATE 6/12– we’ve learned that the Union game against Boston University will be played 10/5, meaning that Northeastern cannot play Union on 10/4 and 10/5. This opens the weekend to be exhibition weekend, however that would contradict what was written in their press release. Right now, we are operating under the assumption that 10/4-10/5 weekend will be for the exhibition against Western Ontario, while 10/11-12 weekend will be when Northeastern travels to Union.
- The first home game of the season should be a classic, as Defending National Champion Runner Up UMass will come back to Matthews Arena hoping to avenge their overtime loss last season. Hockey East points will be on the line earlier than normal this season, and with both teams expected to insert a number of freshmen into prominent roles, they will be tested quickly. As the schedule stands, we are assuming the UMass game will be played Friday, 10/18.
- Northeastern’s four opponents against whom they will play an extra conference game this season are UMass, Boston University, Providence, and Maine. I’m just going to say it- that is a real sucky draw, with three NCAA-caliber opponents among them. In addition, the third game is at Maine, and is set right between the two Beanpot Monday matchups. That is a tough, tough draw for the Huskies.
- There are three home out-of-conference games: Holy Cross in mid-October, Dartmouth on December 14th, and Bentley in January. We know the Dartmouth date thanks to their own schedule reveal. As far as we remember we had played out our previous partnerships with Holy Cross and Bentley, so it remains to be seen if these single games will be reciprocated with single games at their respective arenas in the coming seasons. All reports coming out about Bentley’s new rink are overwhelmingly positive, so that would be a good experience for players and fans alike.
- The games at St. Cloud State will be played October 25th and 26th.
- The end of the season is a tough slate too: five games against BC and BU, including the second round Beanpot game; trips to Orono and UVM; a matchup with Providence; and two games against Lowell, who while they had a down season last year still has arguably the best coach in the nation, and always seems to play better hockey by year’s end.
This is a tough schedule top to bottom. Coach Madigan likes to say there are no easy weekends in this conference, and he preaches how hard it is to sweep a weekend, and this schedule more than any other I can remember is a physical representation of that mindset. Starting in week one with a trip to upstate New York, the Huskies will be challenged nearly every weekend, and will have to be on their A-game for the slate of nine opponents from last year’s NCAA Tournament and two mid-season tournaments. And with the last quarter of the season expected to be difficult to impossible, it is vital that the Huskies bank points when they can, both in the Pairwise and the conference standings.
We’ll have more information pertaining to dates as they get released. We also will have coverage of Huskies recruits that get taken in the NHL Draft next weekend right here on the site and @NUHockeyBlog on Twitter.