Husky hockey schedule finalized
HOUGHTON – Michigan Tech released its hockey schedule Wednesday for the 2013-14 season. The Huskies will play a 38-game regular season slate encompassing 28 games in the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Highlights of the schedule include: the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational to be played outdoors at Comerica Park Dec. 27-28; two home-and-home series vs. arch rival Northern Michigan (the first league games between the schools since 1997); non-conference series at home vs. Michigan State, on the road at Michigan and on the road at Notre Dame; and the annual Winter Carnival series which will be played Feb. 7-8 vs. Alabama Huntsville (UAH).
“It’s a new chapter of Michigan Tech hockey,” said Tech coach Mel Pearson. “The restructured WCHA will bring new opponents to Houghton for our fans and has allowed us to expand our non-conference schedule. This is going to be an exciting year in the WCHA. I believe it will be very competitive. We feel like we have a shot at winning the MacNaughton Cup, and I’m sure most other teams do as well.”
Tech’s first action will come Oct. 5 in an exhibition vs. Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ont.). The Huskies’ regular season opens with seven road games in their first eight outings. That includes an Oct. 11-12 set at Minnesota Duluth, a pair at Notre Dame Oct. 18 and 20, the home-and-home with NMU Oct. 25-26 and Tech’s first trip to Ann Arbor since 1984.
The Michigan State Spartans will visit Houghton Nov. 8-9, marking their first games on Tech’s campus since 1984.
New league rivalries will begin this season with six incoming members to the WCHA: UAH, Alaska Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan.
Tech will host NMU, LSSU, BSU, BGSU, FSU, UAH and UAF in league home games. Conference road games for the Huskies will be played at NMU, Alaska Anchorage, UAF, LSSU, FSU, BGSU and Minnesota State.
The Huskies will try to defend their Great Lakes Invitational title when the event heads outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit Dec. 27-28. Tech will face Michigan State in the semifinal. Michigan and Western Michigan are the other two teams involved in the nation’s premier college hockey holiday tournament.
“The outdoor GLI will be special for our players and our fans,” said Pearson. “That’s certainly going to be a major highlight of our season.”
Winter Carnival 2014 will take place Feb. 7-8 with the Huskies hosting UAH for a league series. The second of the two home-and-home series with Northern Michigan is set for Feb. 21-22.
WCHA playoffs will feature the league’s top eight teams playing first round series hosted by the top four teams Mar. 14-16. The WCHA Final Five will be contested at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., March 21-22.
In all, Tech’s 2013-14 regular season schedule will include 17 home dates, 19 road dates and two neutral site games. The Huskies will face teams from four different conferences (WCHA, Big Ten, National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Hockey East).
“Overall, this is going to be a challenging schedule,” said Pearson. “We have committed to continue playing the top teams in the country. We’ve got the NCAA Frozen Four finalists from two years ago in UMD and Michigan along with last year’s CCHA champion Notre Dame. I think 2013-14 is going to be a lot of fun for our fans.”