By Mike Puzzanghera

A new head coach. A horde of exciting NHL prospects. A full house in the DogHouse. Northeastern men’s hockey should, by all accounts, be not only good but exciting to watch, which should help draw casual fans to as many games as possible. Here are five dates from the schedule that project to be even more exciting than the rest.

Oct. 8 vs. Holy Cross, Oct. 9 vs. Quinnipiac – Ice Breaker

Sure, it’s not actually Northeastern’s opener (they open Oct. 2 against Bentley), so the ice has already broken. But a quick tournament, less than an hour away in Worcester, against two teams Northeastern does not frequently face makes this a great event.

It’s the unofficial kickoff to the season. The Huskies meet Holy Cross on their home ice in Worcester Friday night, then battle Quinnipiac Saturday night. It’ll be fun.

Nov. 8 vs. Harvard

Beanpot rival Harvard missed all of last year as the Ivy League cancelled all athletics for the 2020-21 season. Their absence put the nail in the coffin for the 2021 Beanpot (which didn’t seem likely to be played anyway). So without getting to face off last year, the Huskies figured, why not bring the Crimson to Matthews for the first time since Jan. 2011?

But that’s not even the most exciting part about it. Nov. 8 is Northeastern’s Homecoming game. They didn’t get to have one last year. To (hopefully) have fans young and old, and plenty of alumni packing the seats of historic Matthews Arena will make this one of the most exciting games of the year.

Jan 7-8 vs. Long Island University

LIU isn’t a national power. They’re not a highly successful program with years of experience. They don’t even have a conference. Long Island University is a one-year old program with three wins under the program’s belt.

One thing the Sharks really have going for them is their jerseys. Look at these bad boys. These may just be the nicest sweaters in all of college hockey. They make attendance for these two games a must on their own.

But it’s also a very exciting game for all fans of college hockey. One of the best programs in the country over the last few years gets to put the new kids to the test.

Jan 22 vs. UMass

The national champions come to Matthews. That should be all you need to know to mark your calendars now.

If you need more of a push, these teams have played some incredible games at Matthews over the last few years. In 2019 — when UMass was the top team in the country — Northeastern broke their hearts in overtime as Tyler Madden scored on the rush and rowed his boat right in front of the UMass bench. At the start of the 2019-20 season, the Huskies beat the Minutemen once again at Matthews, fending off a late push as Zach Solow buried the empty-netter with 12 seconds to go to seal the win. And in 2021, on New Year’s Day, the Minutemen got their revenge by, after going down a goal in the third, scoring twice on rebounds to win it.

All of these games have been classics, and with Northeastern stronger this year, this should be another one for the memory bank.

Feb. 7 vs. BC – Beanpot

A plea for fan attendance is never needed for the Beanpot. Hordes of college students from all four Boston schools (really two Boston, one Cambridge, and one Chestnut Hill) pack the seats of TD Garden on two straight Monday nights. It’s one of the most iconic events in college hockey. It extends past just college hockey fans and becomes a Boston staple of early February.

Three-time reigning champ Northeastern faces last year’s Hockey East No. 1 seed Boston College in the opening round. It should be a fantastic game.

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