At long last, the 2017-18 Boston College men’s hockey schedule is now available on BCeagles.com.
Per usual, BC was one of the last schools to announce its schedule, and as such, we already knew most of the details. Still, this is an exciting day. Hockey is just around the corner.
Here are some initial reactions:
-An early start
The Eagles face off against the University of New Brunswick on Saturday, September 30 at 7 PM at Warrior Ice Arena, the Bruins’ practice facility in Brighton, MA.
The season formally starts the following Friday night, October 6, in BC’s home and season opener against Quinnipiac. This will be the first trip ever for the Bobcats’ men’s team to Kelley Rink.
With the way the dates fall on the calendar this year, this is a particularly early start. Additionally, it’s been pretty common for BC to start on the road and not be at Kelley Rink until later in October. It’ll be exciting to get some home games sooner.
-A challenging early part of the season
The last two years, BC really ate up on a weak first half schedule, then saw the degree of difficulty ramp up after the new year.
This year, it’s challenging right out of the gate.
The first seven games: Quinnipiac, Wisconsin, @ Providence, @ St Cloud, @ St Cloud, @ Providence, Denver.
It’s exciting that BC’s first three home games are all huge but... yikes, that’s a tough start for a young team. I guess we’ll know right away what they’ve got.
-Finally! BU weekend returns to December
We’ve complained about it a lot here and elsewhere, so it’s good to see that the BC-BU home-and-home is back to the first weekend in December, when students will be on campus. BC hosts BU on Friday, December 1, then travels to Agganis the next night.
Interestingly, they’ve set it up so that both days are doubleheaders with BC-BU women’s hockey. That’s pretty awesome.
As announced last week, men’s and women’s home games will stream on ESPN3 this season, which is fantastic news for fans. One interesting note is that neither the BC-Denver game nor the BC-UConn game are listed as being on ESPN3 on the schedule. I’m not sure if that’s just an oversight we’re looking too much into, or if that means there’s TV information to be announced at a later date, but keep your eyes peeled. If any games are likely to be picked up by TV, a clash between BC and #1 Denver seems like it would be high on the priority list.
NESN is listed as the broadcaster for the Beanpot but no other games. As of now, we’re not sure what’s up with TV rights for the entire league, or if there’s even going to be a TV partner. Stay tuned.
-New Hockey East scheduling format
With the new Hockey East scheduling format, BC will face four teams three times and six teams twice.
The four opponents BC faces in extra games will be Providence, Lowell, Maine, and UConn. The allocation of these games was determined by a mathematical formula based on the last few seasons' results, with the goal of trying to keep the strength of schedule fairly balanced.
The bonus opponents will remain the same next season, but the home/away games will be swapped - so BC will face Providence twice at home next year, instead of twice on the road.
Of course, teams change in quality from year to year, though we certainly know Providence and Lowell are likely to be strong every year.
-A crazy good home schedule
Aside from maybe some of the teams expected to struggle in Hockey East, it’s a jam packed home schedule without many weak spots. Quinnipiac, Wisconsin, Denver and Harvard are the non-conference home games.
With more league games this year, the quality of the remaining nonconference games is very strong.