Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey reveals 2018-19 season schedule

Sixteen regular-season home games and 24 Hockey East games on deck for Minutemen

Caroline O'Connor

Caroline O'Connor

By Mollie Walker, Assistant Sports Editor

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After turning heads in Hockey East and exceeding all preseason expectations in the 2017-18 season, the Massachusetts hockey team now has its roadmap for the 2018-19 season schedule, which was unveiled Friday morning.

Sixteen regular-season home games should be a treat for the Minutemen faithful, who flooded the Mullins Center with nearly 5,800 fans for UMass’ Game 2 against Vermont in its first home tournament series since 2007, the largest crowd since 2014 against Boston College (5,939).

Posting a 9-13-2 record last season in league play, the Minutemen have 24 Hockey East games on deck as well as 10 non-league contests. UMass swept Quinnipiac as well as split a series with Arizona State in its notable non-conference contests last season, as well as a tough blank from Frozen Four qualifiers Ohio State that saw Matt Murray surrender six goals through both games.

UMass will have a chance at redemption over the Buckeyes as they are scheduled for another early season series on Oct. 19 and 20.

The Minutemen’s 2018-19 campaign will open up with an exhibition game in Amherst against the Royal Military College of Canada before a home-and-home series with Rensselaer ending in Troy, New York.

Hockey East play kicks off on Oct. 26 when UMass hosts Merrimack first in its home-and-home series before going on a three-game run in the league with New Hampshire (at Durham) and Providence (home-and-home).

The Minutemen will aim to surpass 10 wins in league play, which hasn’t been accomplished since 2012-13, although they came close with nine this past season.

Unfamiliar faces in the Mullins Center this season will include Princeton, which travels to Amherst on Nov. 24 for the first time since 2004. The two teams last went toe-to-toe in New Jersey where the Tigers took a 4-3 victory in 2016.

UMass also faces Holy Cross on Nov. 16 for the first time since 2011.

Once the calendar flips to 2019 the Minutemen will battle through a tough lineup for the second half the season.

After UMass opens January against in-state rivals UMass Lowell followed by American International College, Vermont gets its chance at redemption, returning to the Mullins Center for the first time since getting knocked out of the Hockey East playoffs in the first round last season.

The Minutemen then take on three consecutive two-game series beginning with 2017 Beanpot champions Northeastern before heading to Maine to play the Black Bears, who they went 0-3 against last season with two games decided by one tally.

February sees home-and-home series with Boston University, which lost five-year head coach David Quinn this offseason to the NHL’s New York Rangers, and Boston College sandwiching the second game in the season against UMass Lowell.

UMass plays UConn, Providence, Merrimack and Maine each for the third time to wrap up the regular season.

Following up a season with the largest turnaround in Division I hockey will be a test. But the young UMass squad, which added eight freshmen and solidified the return of NHL draftees Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro in the offseason, look equipped for the challenge.

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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