On Tuesday morning the Northeastern Men’s Ice Hockey team released their schedule for the 2021-22 season. After a season shortened by the (ongoing) COVID-19 pandemic, the Huskies’ slate features 35 games.
The Huskies will play their usual 24 conference games, combined with 11 non-conference games, 2 of which do not actually count against the usual 10-game maximum. Those 2 games feature the Huskies in the season’s Icebreaker Tournament (against Holy Cross and Quinnipiac; Boston College also participating). The Huskies also will be participating in the World University Games in Switzerland in mid-December and will have game action there as well, but that obviously cannot count against the NCAA limit.
The rest of the non-conference schedule includes the season-opener on October 2 at Matthews Arena against Bentley (also known as the Jakov Novak Revenge Game); a rare visit from Colorado College of the NCHC; an also rare non-Beanpot matchup with Harvard; a Thanksgiving weekend home-and-home with RPI; the first-ever games against college hockey’s newest team, Long Island University; and lastly, the Beanpot Tournament, where the Huskies finally get to defend their thrice-defending champion status.
In Hockey East, the Huskies will open up against rival Boston College in a mid-October tilt that will put both teams to the test immediately. The Huskies will have 3 games ahead of them before the Eagles, so Coach Keefe and his staff will have some game experience for their rookies and their systems.
The first Hockey East home game comes mid-week on October 26th against UConn, with the following weekend featuring two home games against Maine. If the DogHouse is up to its usual antics, that could make for some fun Halloween shenanigans.
With the conference at 11 teams, Hockey East has seen all teams play each other twice each at minimum, with four additional single games on the schedule for each team on a rotating basis. This season, the bonus games for the Huskies will be Boston College, UConn, UMass-Lowell, and Vermont.
Realistically, the Huskies should be expected to once again contend for a Hockey East title. Coming off a season that was admittedly below the standard the team has set for themselves, I expect plenty of firepower, improved goaltending, and improved defensive play from a team that has as much right as anyone in the conference to fight for the title. From an OOC perspective, the Huskies have a reasonable chance to win each of the nine games that will count in their PairWise calculation this year, including winning the Beanpot for an unprecedented 4th time in a row. The onus will be on the coaches, captains, and leaders of the team to keep them focused game in and game out, and to not take any opponent for granted each night.
The schedule is out, the class is announced, and now it’s all a waiting game. We will have more content coming this offseason as we look at the incoming class in-depth, as well as some interviews with members of the team. We can’t wait to see you all at Matthews Arena on October 2nd. Season tickets are now on sale as well; we renewed ours, make sure you lock yours in as well.
As always, go Huskies!