Now that August is upon us and hockey season is just two months away, it is time to start to take a look at next years title defense schedule. First off, this is by far the best home slate we have had in a long time. The Eagles have a couple of great non-conference games @ home vs teams like Notre Dame, Dartmouth, and Yale. Also, the Eagles get two home games vs in league rivals like Maine, UNH, and Lowell. BC will have just one home game vs archrival BU but I consider two games @ Agganis home games because we win there so much. For the second time in three years, the Eagles will open @ Northeastern and then host the Huskies on Banner Night the next week (Merrimack was at Conte for the last Banner Night). Personally, I love the fact that BC plays a rival like NU on Banner Night. One of the big similarities between this years slate and last years is that the first half is much tougher than the second. Playing @ Northeastern is always tough, Lowell will be real good, Notre Dame is loaded this year, and road trips to Maine, UMass, and BU certainly won't be cakewalks.
Like I said, the aspect that I like the most about this schedule is that while it has some real tough games to start with, the second half is much easier. Obviously Vermont won't be very good this year, Maine will struggle, and Merrimack may have a tough time scoring goals. The one team that could be dangerous in the second half is Providence but PC, like every other team in Hockey East (besides BU), never wins at Conte Forum. Another game that is sure to be a barnburner is the first round game of the BC Invitational vs Harvard. Believe it or not, this may be Ted Donato's best shot at winning the coveted Beanpot trophy with all the talent they have this year. The holiday tournament out in Minnesota is also sure to be a good one. The Gophers are absolutely stacked this season (they will be preseason #1) and the rematch with the Eagles is sure to be a good one as it could feature the top teams in the nation. One thing that is very weird is that no matter how BC does versus Alabama Huntsville, we still face Minnesota the next night in what will most likely be the championship game.
There are however some flaws in this years schedule. First of all, traveling to Maine on a Friday and having to drive right back for a Sunday game vs UMass is extremely out of the norm. Another extremely abnormal thing about this schedule is that the Eagles have a total of five Sunday games. Even though two of those games are days before a holiday or on a holiday break, it is still very out of the ordinary that BC is playing five Sunday games. I don't mind the 4 PM start vs Lowell or the late game vs UNH (the next is Presidents Day) but I don't like the 5pm game @ The Jack Parker Rink or the 7pm start vs UMass. The Sunday game @ The Mariucci Classic does not bother me because it is during holiday break.
Until next time,