It was already starting to feel like hockey season was on its way in Connecticut when the "Ice Bus" rolled into Hartford Wednesday, but now UConn fans have dates to mark on the calendar.
The full 2015-16 men's hockey schedule was announced Thursday, confirming dates for all home and away games.
UConn will begin the season with an away weekend series at Alabama-Huntsville, dropping the puck on the season Oct. 9.
The Huskies will get a home game much earlier than the Boston College opener of last season. UConn will host Arizona State Oct. 19 at the XL Center. The Sun Devils are entering a transitional phase in 2015-16. They will play a half-club, half-Division I schedule, followed by a year as a Division I independent before joining a conference in 2017-18.
There will be plenty of excitement surrounding UConn's home opener, but it the bar was set last November.
There will be no waiting around for the Hockey East season to get going this year. After the Arizona State game, UConn will hit the road to face reigning conference champion Boston University at Agganis Arena Oct. 24. The Huskies will play six straight games against BU, Notre Dame and UMass.
UConn will play every Hockey East team home and away, with the exception of Notre Dame and Maine. After playing a grueling home-and-home series with the Irish last year, UConn will host Notre Dame at the XL Center on Halloween before a showdown at the Barclays Center Nov. 1. The Huskies will play Maine on the road in a two-game weekend series in Orono in January.
Hockey East play to end the regular season will bring UConn on a similar path to the one it faced during a difficult February stretch last season. UConn will end the season playing weekend home-and-home series with reigning national champion Providence, Northeastern and New Hampshire. Those three teams combined to outscore the Huskies 37-6 in six regular season games last season. New Hampshire knocked UConn out of the Hockey East Tournament in the first round.
Back-to-back tournaments highlight the Huskies' non-conference schedule. UConn will play Minnesota Jan. 1 in the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis before playing either Ferris State or Harvard the following day. The following weekend, UConn will play in the Desert Hockey Classic at Arizona State, opening against Michigan Tech Jan. 8 before playing Arizona State or Yale Jan. 10.
UConn will play 15 games at the XL Center this season. No home games will be played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Future consideration for home games in Bridgeport is said to be a last resort. UConn defeated Quinnipiac and Union in Bridgeport last year but lost both its official home games to Notre Dame and Colorado College and a game to UMass Lowell, as well.
Below is the full schedule (home games bolded, * denotes Hockey East game):
Oct. 3 vs. Queens University (Exhibition), 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Alabama-Huntsville, 8:07 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Alabama-Huntsville, 8:07 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Arizona State, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Boston University*, TBA
Oct. 27 vs. Boston University*, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 vs. Notre Dame*, 3:05 p.m.
Nov. 1 vs. Notre Dame* (at Barclays Center), 2:35 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Massachusetts*, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 7 at Massachusetts*, TBA
Nov. 10 vs. Army, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Vermont*, TBA
Nov. 17 vs. Quinnipiac, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 24 vs. Boston College*, 7:05 p.m.
Dec. 5 vs. UMass Lowell*, 3:05 p.m.
Dec. 6 at UMass Lowell*, TBA
Dec. 11 vs. Merrimack*, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 1 at Minnesota (Mariucci Classic), TBA
Jan. 2 vs. Ferris State/Harvard (Mariucci Classic), TBA
Jan. 8 vs. Michigan Tech (Desert Hockey Classic), TBA
Jan. 10 at Arizona State/vs. Yale (Desert Hockey Classic), TBA
Jan. 15 at Maine*, TBA
Jan. 16 at Maine*, TBA
Jan. 22 vs. Vermont*, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Boston College*, TBA
Jan. 26 vs. Sacred Heart, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 2 vs. Brown, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 6 at Merrimack*, TBA
Feb. 12 at Providence*, TBA
Feb. 13 vs. Providence*, 5:05 p.m.
Feb. 19 vs. Northeastern*, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 20 at Northeastern*, TBA
Feb. 26 vs. New Hampshire*, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 27 at New Hampshire*, TBA