Atlantic Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series

Finally,  you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The 2014-15 Division I hockey season is slowly approaching, and there are 40 days until the season begins.

Checking the composite Atlantic Hockey Association schedule, I have selected five must-see non-conference series that I think will pique your interest. In my opinion, these are non-conference match ups that should capture national attention, and will also have national implications in the Pairwise Rankings.

Zac Larraza [photo: University of Denver Athletics]
Zac Larraza [photo: University of Denver Athletics]
This is the sixth and final segment of Five Must-See Series Non-Conference Series. NCHC Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series, ECAC Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series, WCHA Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series, Big Ten Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series. Hockey East: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series.

Series One: Air Force Academy vs. Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage
Tournament: Brice Alaska Goal Run Tourney.
Date: October 17-18, 2014.
Location: Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Falcons travel north to Alaska to participate in the seventh annual Brice Alaska Goal Rush Tournament. The Falcons will take on University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks in the first game and University of Anchorage Seawolves in the second game.

The Falcons will attempt to become only the second team that’s not from Alaska, to win the Brice Goal Rush Tournament.

Alaska Fairbanks has won Goal Rush Tournament in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Alaska Anchorage won it in 2008. In 2010, Union College became the only non Alaska based team to win the Brice Goal Rush Tournament.

Last season, Air Force went 0-2 in Alaska. The Falcons lost to (UAF 6-1 and UAA 4-2) in the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.

Series two: Niagara vs. Notre Dame
Date: October 24-25, 2014.
Location: Compton Family Ice Arena, South Bend, Indiana.

This series is intriguing because neither team is familiar with the other. This two-game non-conference series, will be only the second  and third games ever between the two teams. The Niagara Purple Eagle and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have played a single game against each other. The last time these two teams played was on October 14, 2000.

All-time, Niagara has (0-0-1, .500) record against Notre Dame.

Series three: Holy Cross vs. Penn State University.
Date: October 24 & 26, 2014.
Location: Pegula Ice Arena, University Park, Pennsylvania

The Holy Cross Crusaders travel to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions in a two-game non-conference series. The two teams played in a two-game non-conference series during the 2012-13 season. Holy Cross swept the first year program 5-4 and 4-1 in Worcester, Massachusetts. All-time, Holy Cross is (3-0-0, .500) against Penn State.

Series Four: Air Force Academy vs. Denver and Colorado College.
Date: November 21-22, 2014.
Location game one: Magness Arena, Denver Colorado.
Location game two: Cadet Ice Arena, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Air Force Falcons play their in-state rivals Denver and Colorado College, in their annual match-up. A couple of wins against Denver and Colorado College would help the Falcons in the Pairwise Rankings.  It would also give them bragging rights over their in-state rivals.

Last season, Air Force had a (1-0-0, 1.00) record against Colorado College. Against Denver, the Falcons had a (0-1-1, .250) record.

All-time, Air Force has a (9-58-2, .144) record against Colorado College and (3-33-1, .094) record against Denver.

Series five: Robert Morris vs. Penn State, Colgate and Western Michigan
Date: December 29-30, 2014.
Location: Consol Energy Center
Event: Third Annual Three Rivers Classic

The third annual Three Rivers Classic will feature Robert Morris, Colgate, Penn State and Western Michigan.

Robert Morris and Penn State will be yearly fixtures in the Three Rivers Classic. In game one, Robert Morris will face off against Penn State. In the second game, the winners of game one will face off for the tournament championship. The losers will play in the third place game.

Finally, the Three Rivers Classic is a good way to showcase college hockey in Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh.

All-time, Robert Morris has a (2-2-0, .500) record against Penn State, a (1-0-0, 1.00) record against Western Michigan and a (2-5-1, .312) record against Colgate.