Rick Gotkin (Contributed/USCHO.com)
Head coach Rick Gotkin of the Mercyhurst College men’s hockey team released Monday the details of the Lakers’ 2010-11 schedule, highlighted by 18 regular-season home games, a date with perennial power Michigan and a possible meeting against defending NCAA Division I champion Boston College.
“We’re very excited and really looking forward to this season,” said coach Gotkin, who is sitting on 399 wins entering his 23rd season at Mercyhurst. “We want to have a challenging schedule to prepare our players for the road ahead. Playing teams such as Michigan and Boston College gives us the experience to tackle the teams in our conference. Our league has gotten better and better over the years, and with the addition of Robert Morris and Niagara this season, it’s probably the toughest it’s ever been.”
The Lakers will play 34 regular-season games and two exhibition contests in their 24th season of intercollegiate play. Twenty-seven of those games will be against teams from Atlantic Hockey Association, while the remaining seven put the Lakers up against foes from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC Hockey), and possibly Hockey East (HEA).
Unlike previous years, Gotkin and his squad won’t have an opportunity to get a tune-up in before their first game as they head straight to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face Michigan on Oct. 2 at Yost Ice Arena. It will be the season opener for both squads and the first time the Lakers and Wolverines faced off against each other since a 5-3 loss in the 2003-04 season.
After the bout with the Wolverines, the Lakers return home to open the doors to the Mercyhurst Ice Center with a five-game home stand, beginning with an exhibition contest against Queens University, a Kingston, Ontario, school, on Oct. 3. A two-game series against Western Michigan (Oct. 15-16) follows before Canisius comes to town on Oct. 19 and the United States Under-18 National Team for another exhibition on Oct. 24.
The Lakers resume league play for the next 11 games, beginning with consecutive road singles at Niagara (Oct. 29) and Air Force (Nov. 5). The next five contests feature a pair of two-game home series against Army (Nov. 12-13) and American International (Nov. 26-27) sandwiched around a game at Robert Morris on Nov. 19. A trip to Sacred Heart (Dec. 3-4) and a home series against Rochester Institute of Technology (Dec. 10-11) close out the stretch and lead the team into non-conference action for the rest of the month.
Following a series against former Division II rival Alabama-Huntsville (Dec. 16-17) at home, the Lakers will have two weeks off before taking part in the 2010 Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H., where they will face Dartmouth (Dec. 30) in the opening game and either Boston College or Colgate, depending on the outcome, the next day.
Mercyhurst has not faced Boston College since a 5-4 setback in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Division I Tournament.
Atlantic Hockey play then heats up again as the Lakers open up the second half of the season on the road at Connecticut (Jan. 7-8), followed by a home series against Holy Cross (Jan. 14-15) and a trip to Bentley (Jan. 21-22). Mercyhurst closes out its three-game season series with RIT in Rochester, N.Y. on Jan. 29, taking the team into the final month of the regular season.
Back-to-back home-and-home series kick off the month of February with the Lakers facing Niagara (Feb. 4-5) and Robert Morris (Feb. 11-12). Both series will have Mercyhurst on the road for the first contest. Air Force (Feb. 18-19) then closes out its series with a pair at the Mercyhurst Ice Center before the regular-season finale against Canisius on Feb. 25 on the road and Feb. 26 in Erie.
- From Mercyhurst news release