- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Erin Lennon, Daily Sports Writer
Published July 25, 2014
For just the second time in 15 years, the Michigan hockey team’s pursuit of a 10th NCAA championship will begin on the road.
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The Wolverines will travel north to take on Ferris State in the season opener Oct. 4 before playing two exhibitions at Yost Ice Arena against the U.S. National Team Development Program and Wilfred Laurier.
On Friday, the program announced its 14 non-conference contests before the Great Lakes Invitational, which will feature Michigan Tech and Ferris State in addition to conference rival Michigan State. Both the GLI and the second Big Ten Tournament will be held at Joe Louis Arena, a key advantage for a team that is looking to make the NCAA Tournament after two disappointing years of being left out.
Michigan will visit the Upper Peninsula and Michigan Tech for the first time since 1983. Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson was in charge of scheduling as an assistant with Michigan, but he never slated the Huskies as an in-state road game during his tenure.
Michigan will also travel to the Boston area twice in 2014, once in October to take on UMass-Lowell and Boston University and once on Dec. 13 to play Boston College. All three teams visited Ann Arbor last season, when only UMass-Lowell was able to best the Wolverines.
Non-conference action became the highlight of Michigan’s 2013-14 season. Though they weren't necessarily upsets, wins over No. 4 Boston College, No. 13 New Hampshire – especially given goaltender Zach Nagelvoort’s step-in performance – and No. 14 Boston University lifted the notably inexperienced Wolverines to No. 2 in the nation at one point in the season.
This season, Michigan’s non-conference schedule is slated to be just as difficult. And this team is still young, and equally talented, so while resume-building victories early might be sweet, they do not stamp a NCAA Tournament ticket.
November matchups against Michigan Tech, American International and Rensselaer Polytechnic will prove all the more telling as the Wolverines head toward the thick of Big Ten play.
Michigan will play 17 Big Ten contests in 2015 beginning with reigning Big Ten champion Minnesota at home. Like last season, when the Wolverines spent six weeks away from home ice, the 2014-15 schedule features long breaks between home series. After two games against the Golden Gophers on Jan. 9, Michigan will travel to Minneapolis, Madison and to Columbus twice before returning to Yost on Feb. 21.
The Wolverines finished at an even 7-7-1 on the road last season and dropped just three games at home while posting a respectable 10-8-2 record in the Big Ten.