On Tuesday, the Boston University men's hockey team released its 2011-12 schedule, so the Eagles can pencil in three more dates on the 2011-12 men's hockey schedule.
Boston College will host BU on November 13 and December 2, before making the return trip to Agganis for the regular season finale on December 3. The Eagles open their season series with the Terriers much earlier than usual this year, with the first game scheduled for mid-November. With the first round pairings in next year's Beanpot being BC vs. Northeastern and BU vs. Harvard, it's entirely possible that BC and BU won't face each other the entire second half of the season. Weird, right?
That's probably not a good thing considering the Eagles lose over 50 percent of their goal scoring from a season ago and four of the top five point leaders. This BC team does return some quality players at forward -- Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Steven Whitney and Barry Almeida -- but will likely need some time early in the season to gel as a team. BC will also be breaking in a new starting goaltender (Parker Milner) and still needs a lot of work on the defensive end.
York and the Eagles have what seems to be shaping up as a brutal fall 2011 schedule. In addition to the Ice Breaker Tournament in Grand Forks, where BC joins North Dakota, Michigan State and Air Force, BC has non-conference matchups with Denver (October 14), Yale (November 26), a rumored trip to Notre Dame, all three games against our Comm. Ave. rivals and the Great Lakes Invitational against Michigan and Michigan State or Michigan Tech over the holiday break.
For those keeping track at home, that's games against eight teams ranked in the final 2011 USCHO.com Division I men's poll. More specifically, games against teams that finished the season ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th -- BC can't play the 5th ranked team ... that's them -- three games against BU, who finished the year ranked 17th, and possibly Air Force, who finished 18th. TUC, baby!
In comparison, the winter 2012 schedule will seem like a walk in the park.