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Take 5: Men’s hockey’s must-see games

The Northeastern University men’s hockey team unveiled the schedule for the 2014-2015 season last Wednesday, giving Husky fans a clear view of the squad’s road to Hockey East supremacy. But winning won’t come easy for the red and black, which will face-off against eight of the 16 team that reached the 2014 NCAA Tournament. All in all, the 34-game slate, says fourth-year head coach Jim Madigan, “represents one of the most difficult challenges in recent years.” Win or lose, here are the five games you won’t want to miss.

Opening Night

The Huskies will drop the puck on the 2014-2015 season on Oct. 11 at Matthews Arena against Vermont. The Catamounts compiled a 20-15-3 record last season, but finished behind the Huskies in the Hockey East standings. Northeastern trails in the all-time series, having posted a 22-28-5 record in 55 meetings, but beat Vermont in two of last season’s three matchups.

Thanksgiving Dessert

One of Northeastern’s toughest tests will take place on Nov. 29 at Matthews Arena. Just two days after their weeklong Thanksgiving break, the Huskies will face-off against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, the perennial powerhouse and last season’s national championship runner up. If history is any indication, there is good reason to believe the Huskies could beat the Gophers, who last season outscored their opponents 143 to 86: In 2011, Northeastern defeated Minnesota on the Gophers’ home ice, winning 3-2 to secure the university’s second Mariucci Classic tournament victory.

Face-off with the Former Champs

Northeastern will battle Yale on Jan. 6, facing-off against the Bulldogs the first time in almost 20 years. The 2013 NCAA champs took a step back last season, bowing out in the quarterfinal round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, but they still managed to outscore their opponents 106 to 82. Here’s to hoping the Huskies will be able to limit the Bulldogs’ offensive production like they did on Nov. 26, 1995, when they beat Yale 3-1 in their previous matchup.

The Rematch

When: Friday, Jan. 9. Where: Matthews Arena. Who: Northeastern and Boston College, facing-off for the first time since the Eagles defeated the Huskies in last season’s Beanpot Championship. A win would be extra sweet: The last time the Huskies beat the Eagles was on Oct. 13, 2012, a 3-1 victory at Matthews Arena. For the hockey trivia buffs, the diehards in the Doghouse who refuse to leave their seats during intermissions: January’s meeting will mark the latest these two teams have played against each other for the first time in a season since the 1980-81 campaign. That year, they played on Jan. 26.

Huskies vs. Huskies

The Northeastern Huskies will welcome the University of Connecticut Huskies to Hockey East with a home-and-home series beginning on Feb. 13, marking the teams’ first meeting since 2004. Last season, Connecticut played in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, compiling an 18-14-4 record and losing in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament. Count on UConn to play a low-scoring, tight-checking brand of hockey—last season, the club relinquished just 2.4 goals per game while scoring only 2.5.

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