MEN'S HOCKEY: UND releases its tentative 2014-15 schedule
There will be some familiar faces on the opposing benches next season for the UND men’s hockey team.
Lake Superior State junior-to-be Bryce Schmitt of Minot and Air Force senior-to-be Chad Demers will return to Ralph Engelstad Arena — where both had major impacts in North Dakota state tournaments — to play nonconference games against UND.
The Lakers come to Grand Forks for an early December series and the Falcons will make the trip for a single, Hall of Fame Game in early November according to an unfinalized schedule obtained by the Herald.
Two other nonconference matchups will likely be put in the national spotlight as well.
In late October, UND hosts Providence — a team that expects to be a contender in Hockey East next season. The Friars only graduate a couple of players from this year’s NCAA-tournament team and have already received a pledge from star goalie Jon Gillies that he will return instead of signing with the Calgary Flames.
Two weeks later, UND travels to Wisconsin to take on the Big Ten tournament champion Badgers in a rematch of this year’s Midwest Regional tournament game.
The other nonconference matchups include a home-and-home against Bemidji State to open the season and a home series against Niagara in January.
UND plays every National Collegiate Hockey Conference team both at home and on the road except for Minnesota Duluth and Western Michigan. UND does not travel to Duluth and the Broncos do not make the trip to Grand Forks.
UND won’t have to make a road trip from Dec. 13 until Jan. 30 due to Christmas break and three straight home series against Duluth, Niagara and Colorado College.
UND ends the season in Oxford, Ohio, against Miami — a series that could have large implications considering the RedHawks have already received pledges from stars Austin Czarnik, Riley Barber and Blake Coleman that they will return for next season.
If UND makes the NCAA tournament for a 13th consecutive season, it will automatically be placed in the West Regional at Fargo’s Scheels Arena. UND is hosting that regional. UND last hosted a regional in 2006, when it beat Michigan and Holy Cross to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.