It won’t take very long for the Massachusetts hockey team to get its first crack at the defending national champions.
In just their second game of the season, the Minutemen host Boston College for a rematch of last year’s Hockey East tournament first round, when they were swept in two games by the Eagles.
However, this Oct. 19 contest will be played at the Mullins Center, where UMass went 2-0 despite falling in all three road games in 2011-12.
Before they can worry about BC, however, the Minutemen open their season at home against future HEA member Connecticut on Oct. 12 for the first of 11 home games in the first 15.
“Having UConn in our building to open the regular season is a nice way to begin my time as UMass head coach,” first-year UMass coach John Micheletto told UMassAthletics.com. “It’s never easy having to get into Hockey East play the second weekend of the year, but we will be ready.”
Other highlights from those first 15 contests include a home-and-home with Boston University on Oct. 26-27, Micheletto’s first game against his former team, Vermont, at the Mullins Center on Nov. 20 and non-conference matchups at home against Quinnipiac (Nov. 24) and Colgate (Dec. 7-8). UMass won’t play at home again after that until Jan. 12 for the second of a home-and-home against Providence.
The Minutemen hit the road for their last game before the holiday break when they play out of conference against Yale on Dec. 11, and won’t play again after that until Dec. 30 for the Ledyard National Bank Classic opener in Hanover, N.H. There, they will play against Bemidji State, followed by a game against either New Hampshire or Dartmouth the next night depending on the outcome of the previous day’s events.
“With our non-league games it’s nice to see some of the usual faces, close cross-conference rivals in Quinnipiac and Yale and going to the Dartmouth Tournament just up the road,” Micheletto said.
UMass goes to Chestnut Hill for the second time to take on the Eagles on Jan. 18. After that will be Micheletto’s first trip back to Burlington, Vt., where the Minutemen play the Catamounts on the road, Jan. 25-26.
UMass plays five of its seven games in February at home, starting with the Terriers on Feb. 1 and Northeastern on Feb. 8, followed by a matchup at Merrimack the next night.
The Minutemen close out the month with a home-and-home with UMass-Lowell (Feb. 15-16) and a weekend series at home against Maine (Feb. 22-23).
After a road series with UNH on March 1-2, UMass goes to Merrimack on March 8 before closing out 2013 the next night at home against the Warriors.
Nick Canelas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @MDC_Canelas.