With the exhibition games just two days away and league action just over a week away, it's time for Hockey East fans to start getting excited about hitting the rinks. Here's a look at what games in October are worth marking your calendars for.
Saturday, October 4
St. Thomas at Boston University (4 p.m) and New Brunswick at Boston College (7 p.m.)
Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin make their debuts in Terrier and Eagle jerseys, respectively. The two local products are highly regarded freshman who will almost surely go in the top five of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Sunday, October 5
New Brunswick at Maine
The Black Bears will be one of seven Hockey East teams in exhibition action on Sunday. Red Gendron enters year two at Maine led by Devin Shore up front and Ben Hutton on the blue line, but will be replacing Martin Ouellette in net. Sunday will gave the always passionate Maine fans a good look at the prospectus for the season.
Friday, October 10
Boston University at Massachusetts and Boston College at UMass Lowell
Eichel and Hanifin make their Hockey East debuts. The BC-UML matchup will be a rematch of last season's NCAA Northeast Regional Final, won by the Eagles.
Saturday, October 11
New Hampshire at Union
The Wildcats will head to Schenectady to take on the defending NCAA Champions a night after the Dutchmen raised the school's first national championship banner. Both teams were hit hard with early departures and graduation, but UNH will be without three-year starter Casey DeSmith, who is suspended indefinitely after being charged in connection with a domestic dispute.
Sunday, October 12
Minnesota/Minnesota-Duluth at Notre Dame
Notre Dame could face the preseason top-ranked Golden Gophers or NCHC contender UMD in the championship game of the IceBreaker Tournament. The Fighting Irish play Rensselaer in the semifinal on Friday night.
Friday, October 17
Northeastern at Colgate
The Huskies visit ECAC Hockey preseason favorite Colgate for the first of a two-game series at Starr Rink in Hamilton. The Raiders return almost their entire roster from a NCAA Tournament team in 2013-14.
Saturday, October 18
UConn at Merrimack
The Huskies visit Lawler Arena for the program's first ever league game as a member of Hockey East. It is homecoming weekend at Merrimack so a good crowd should be on hand to watch Merrimack's first league game of the year as the Warriors look to bounce back from a last place finish in 2013-14.
Friday, October 24
Michigan at UMass Lowell
The revival of the UMass Lowell program continues as the River Hawks host the Wolverines in a Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge game. A program that was almost shutdown a few years ago has bounced back under Norm Bazin, making three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and now bringing in big time programs from out west to the visit Tsongas Center.
Saturday, October 25
Providence at North Dakota
Providence finishes a tough four-game nonconference stretch to open the season with the finale of a two-game series at North Dakota's Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Friars, preseason favorites in Hockey East, are led by a dynamic junior class that includes star goaltender Jon Gillies. Nate Leaman's team first heads to Ohio State for a pair before the team's trip to Grand Forks.
Friday, October 31
Boston University at Providence
As the Terriers look to bounce back from a tough season, David Quinn's squad heads to face a loaded Friars team. BU will have already faced UMass in league play, but the game will mark the toughest in-conference foe to date.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.