ECAC Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series

Jeremy Welsh Hurricanes
Jeremy Welsh (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

As we make our way through a very slow off-season, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s roughly 60 days until the 2014-15 college hockey season begins.

Looking at the East Coast Athletic Conference schedule, I previewed five must-see non-conference games. In my opinion, these are some of the more “attractive” non-conference series on the ECAC schedule. Feel free to chime in with your favorite must-see ECAC non-conference series.

The ECAC once regarded as the EZAC by other conference fans, is now the home to the last two NCAA Champions. The ECAC is quickly becoming the country’s power conference for division I college hockey.

Series One: Quinnipiac University vs. Mass.-Lowell
Date: October 17-18, 2014
Location Game One: High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Connecticut.
Location Game Two: Tsongas Arena – Lowell, Massachusetts.

This has the making of an exciting two-game non-conference, home-and-home series that should have national implications in the Pairwise Rankings. Over the last two seasons, Quinnipiac (54-18-11, .716) and Mass-Lowell (54-11-6, .695) have been two of the better teams in college hockey.

This will also be the re-match of last year’s non-conference series between the Bobcats and Riverhawks. The Bobcats swept the Riverhawks in an exciting, two-game home-and-home series. The Bobcats won 3-1 on Friday night in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Bobcats followed up Friday’s win with an identical 3-1 score on Saturday Night in Hamden, Connecticut.

Series Two: Saint Cloud State University vs. Union College
Date: October 24-25, 2014.
Location: Messa Rink–Schenectady, New York

The defending national champions, the Union Dutchmen entertain the Saint Cloud State Huskies in an important non-conference match-up. This series will have national implications in the Pairwise Rankings.

This is the re-match of last season’s non-conference series, the two teams met in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, resulting in a 4-1 Union win and a 3-3 tie.

All-time, Union has a 1-2-2 record against Saint Cloud.

Series Three: Nebraska-Omaha vs. Cornell
Date: October 31, November 1, 2014.
Location: James Lynah Rink – Ithaca, New York.

The University of Nebraska-Omaha travels to Ithaca, New York, to play the Cornell Big Red in an important, two-game non-conference series. This is season-opening series for the Cornell Big Red.

This is the re-match of last season’s series between the two teams. The Big Red beat the Mavericks 5-3 and 4-3 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

All-Time, Cornell has a (2-0-0, 1.00) record against the UNO Mavericks.

Series Four: University of Denver vs. Cornell
Date: December 5-6. 2014.
Location: James Lynah Rink – Ithaca, New York.

This is the re-match of the January 4-5, 2013, series that took place at Magness Arena in Denver, Colorado. Denver swept the Big Red winning 5-1 and 2-1. At the end of the second game, both benches emptied with players from both teams making obscene gestures at each other.

“I’m looking at the sheet now, and we’re the ones that were assessed all the penalties,” Head coach Mike Schafer said. “You’re supposed to hold your guys at the end of the game. That obviously didn’t happen. It’s just really disappointing on the calls. … It’s disgusting. That’s all you can say. I won’t come back to the WCHA.” (USCHO.COM)

A few things have changed since the series in question. Denver is no longer in the WCHA and Head coach George Gwozdecky resigned after the 2012-13 season, and is an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

All-Time, Cornell has a (4-6-0, .400) record against the University of Denver.

Series Five: Quinnipiac vs. Saint Cloud State University
Date: January 5-6, 2015.
Location: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center – Saint Cloud, Minnesota

This should be an intense, fast-paced, non-conference match-up between two explosive teams. Last season, both teams were ranked in the top-five nationally for scoring offense.

This series is the re-match of 2013 NCAA Frozen Four Semi Final game. Quinnipiac won the game 4-1, to advance to the championship game of the 2013 Frozen Four. The Bobcats would go on to lose to the Yale Bulldogs 4-0.

All-Time, Saint Cloud has a 3-2 record against Quinnipiac.