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UConn men’s hockey releases 2021-22 schedule

If the Huskies’ schedule is any indication, the upcoming year should be a return to normal after last year’s pandemic season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After a bizarre 2020-21 campaign that didn’t include any non-conference games, UConn men’s hockey’s 2021-22 schedule is back to normal. The Huskies have released their 34-game slate that will begin on Oct. 2 against Sacred Heart at the XL Center.

After playing at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs last season due to the pandemic, UConn will host all 15 home games at the XL Center. The school also plans on having fans back in attendance after playing in front of nearly empty rinks in 2020-21, and season tickets are now available.

The schedule starts with a heavy dose of road games as they’ll place just twice in Hartford during the month of November. Luckily, all but two games will be played in New England, limiting the travel required.

UConn has a non-conference schedule that includes the Pioneers, a two-game series on the road at Ohio State on Oct. 15-16, a trip up to Dartmouth’s famous Thompson Arena on Oct. 30, Colgate at home on Nov. 27, a two-game set against AIC on Dec. 9 (away) and Dec. 10 (home), Harvard on the road on Jan. 2, and the second Connecticut Ice Festival from Jan. 29-30.

In Hockey East play, the Huskies will open with Boston University in their second and third games of the season on Oct. 8 (home) and Oct. 9 (away). They will play at Matthews Arena for a midweek matchup with Northeastern on Tuesday, Oct. 26 before a weekend series at Maine on Nov. 5-6.

The next week, UConn will host Boston College on Nov. 12 before traveling to Providence the next day.

The Huskies will meet UMass Lowell for a home-and-home starting at the Tsongas Center on Nov. 20 before the return trip to the XL Center the next day. UConn’s second-to-last series before the winter break will be against Merrimack on Dec. 3 (away) and Dec. 4 (home).

Although the Huskies have played in a holiday tournament every year since joining Hockey East, they’ll forgo one this season. Hockey East play restarts with a Jan. 8 trip to Boston College before hosting Boston University the weekend after at the XL Center.

UConn will play two games in Hartford against UNH on Jan. 21-22 before returning from CT Ice with a weekend against Providence at home on Feb. 4 followed by a road trip to UNH on Feb. 5. The Huskies will play just one game the following week — at BC on Feb. 11 — before facing off against defending national champions UMass at home on Feb. 18 and in Amherst on Feb. 19.

The regular season wraps up with a home-and-home with Northeastern on Feb. 25 (home) and Feb. 26 (away) followed by a two-game set at the XL Center against Vermont on Mar. 4-5.

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Hockey East will also be introducing a new postseason format. All 11 teams will make the conference tournament with the top five teams receiving a bye into the quarterfinals. The entire playoffs will also be single-elimination instead of best-of-three series in the first round and quarterfinals.

The opening games of the postseason will be played on Mar. 9 followed by the quarters on Mar. 12. The Hockey East semifinals and finals will be held at the TD Garden in Boston on Mar. 18-19.

After a record-setting season in which they were nationally ranked for the first time and finished fourth, their best-ever finish in Hockey East, the Huskies will have their aims on taking another step forward in 2021-22.

One of UConn’s top goals will be to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time after just missing out last season while also competing to take home some Hockey East hardware. On paper, this should be the most talented roster head coach Mike Cavanaugh has assembled in Storrs.