STORRS, Conn. – The UConn women’s ice hockey team and head coach Chris MacKenzie have announced the program’s schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season, a 34-game slate that features 17 home contests for the Hockey East runners-up at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum beginning on Sept. 28.
The Huskies, coming off one of the best seasons in program history, will play 27 conference games – with three additional matchups against Hockey East newcomer Holy Cross – and seven against out of league competition.
“It’s an inverted schedule, with St. Cloud coming to us for the home-opener (Sept. 28/29),” said MacKenzie, who will enter his sixth season at UConn. “We’re excited; we’re coming off a challenging year and we played really well at the end. Our Hockey East schedule will be tough…I think we have good balance in the schedule and are ready to get started.”
St. Cloud State visits Freitas to kick-off the season, before UConn plays its next five games against league opponents – which includes welcoming the Crusaders to Storrs (Oct. 13) for the programs’ first official meeting as Hockey East foes.
Non-conference games at Brown (Oct. 23) and Union (Oct. 27) lead the Huskies into a busy November, where they will play perennial power Boston College three times (Nov. 1, 17 on the road, Nov. 16 at home). UConn upset the top-seeded Eagles in the Hockey East semifinals last March at Matthews Arena.
The 15th Annual Nutmeg Classic will take place at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn., with UConn facing Quinnipiac (Nov. 23) in the first game and an opponent TBD the following day. Yale University is hosting the tournament.
Prior to a four-week winter break, UConn plays a home-and-home with Providence (Dec. 1, 2) – the team it upset in the Hockey East quarterfinals this past February at Schneider Arena. In the second half of the season, 15 of 16 games are against Hockey East teams.
“I would say Boston College is the early favorite because it will return three Olympians,” said MacKenzie when asked for a league breakdown. “Everyone else is adding talented players and returning good players. I think if last season was any indication of the parity in our league, it will be the same this year.”
A home game against Dartmouth (Dec. 30) completes the non-conference slate, before a home-and-home with Holy Cross (Jan. 4-5) and a full home weekend against New Hampshire (Jan. 11-12). A rematch of the Hockey East championship game follows, taking place against Northeastern (Jan. 18) at Freitas, with another meeting the next day at Matthews.
A pair of road games at Maine (Jan. 25-26) lead into February, when the Huskies play four of seven games at home – including a weekend set against Vermont (Feb. 8-9). Senior Night is scheduled for Feb. 22 against Boston University at Freitas, the final game of the regular season.
“As you get to the end of the year, it’s nice to have Friday and Saturday games,” said MacKenzie. “As of right now, that’s the case for most of them and that’s where we want to be…This may come down to the last weekend like last year.”
The Huskies went 16-14-9 during 2017-18, playing a program-record 39 games and picking up six victories (including three in Hockey East Tournament) over teams ranked in the USCHO Division I Women’s Poll. They earned their third-ever trip to the Hockey East title game (2004-05, 2009-10, 2017-18) on March 4, falling to Northeastern, 2-1.
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