As I talked about last week with another game at Fenway and NBC Sports picking up the national media rights, Hockey East announced on Wednesday, NESN has extended its agreement through the 2014-2015 season.
NESN will produce at least 16 games in high definition which includes a quarterfinal game, the semi-finals, finals, and the women’s final in 2012.
“This is the final and perhaps most important piece of our television future,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna in the league’s press release. “While our recent announcements on national television remain significant to the growth of the conference, the fact is we play our games here, we sell our tickets here and we still recruit a large number of our hockey players out of New England. NESN allows us to reach the people who care about Hockey East the most.”
With both the regional and national media rights taken care of, the future of Hockey East is very strong in this new era of college hockey.
Merrimack at Boston University
This would have been a game I could have circled on the calendar when the schedules came out, but it’s not the marquee game as it was a month ago. Merrimack is firing on all cylinders while BU is trying to get out of first gear. Merrimack wins this contest.
Northeastern at Boston College
A battle of two Boston area teams who are both coming off interesting weekends. Northeastern took two points against Merrimack in an tie and overtime loss. While BC came away with a victory against Maine and a loss to Massachusetts. I expect Boston College to bounce back and take the victory.
Holy Cross at Massachusetts
A interstate non-conference match-up, this should be a close contest. Massachusetts is coming in on a high beating Boston College, but the Crusaders already have a victory over Boston University this year. I will go with the name of my elementary school back in the day and take Holy Cross in this one.
Northeastern at Massachusetts
A battle of middle of the pack teams in Hockey East who I both expect coming in will have taken a loss the night before. This should be a close match-up and I will take Massachusetts as the home team in this game. I expect a good game between these two.
New Hampshire at Vermont
A rivalry game as this will be the 98th meeting between the schools. That’s quite impressive since the two schools haven’t been in the same conference all the time. I think New Hampshire has finally got it together and will take the game in enemy territory.
Boston University at Boston College
One of the biggest rivalries in college hockey and you can throw out the records of the teams when they meet. I think this is the game the Terriers need because they are use to playing in big games. With that said, the Eagles take this contest on home ice.
Weekend Series (Friday and Saturday)
Massachusetts-Lowell at Maine
So far this season has been home cooking for Maine. After getting swept last weekend I expect the Black Bears to get the offense going. The Riverhawks have their offense going so these two games will be which defense will keep the puck out of the net. I say it will be a sweep for Maine.
Alabama-Huntsville at Providence
A non-conference match-up and a chance for Friars fans to see history as it appears this is Huntsville’s last season in Division I. Providence should have no issue in these two games and will take the sweep.