As I was writing this, Hockey East announced an update to their schedule, so basically always double check schedules close to game time and assume that everything here is subject to change. Welcome to women's college hockey in 2020. No one really knows what's going on and they shouldn't be playing, but here we are.

(5) Ohio State vs. (4) Minnesota

Saturday at 3:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available through BTN+.

The logistics of WCHA play mean this front half of the schedule is full of the top four teams in the conference playing each other and makes for some really amazing matchups.

This week, the Buckeyes head to Minneapolis to face the Gophers. OSU won last year's season series 3-2 thanks to an overtime win in the conference semifinal. Ohio State was scheduled to head back to Ridder Arena for an NCAA quarterfinal before the season was cancelled back in March.

It feels like OSU has the advantage to start the season as they are returning with almost the same roster they won their first-ever WCHA tournament championship with. Aside from the obvious rust and uncertainty that stems from the pandemic, Ohio State should be able to pick up right where they left off on the ice. Their biggest loss was defender Jincy Dunne, who graduated. But they bring back all their top scorers and goalie Andrea Braendli, who was absolutely shutdown to close out the season last year.

It's assumed Minnesota will be looking to Lauren Bench in net. Bench is a senior transfer from Bemidji State. Up front, they'll be replacing leading scorer Sarah Potomak as well as Alex Woken. They bring in arguably the best freshman in the country in Abby Murphy. Expect her to make an immediate impact for the Gophers. Amy Potomak seemed to really settle into herself last season and I expect to see more dynamic play from her as she is comfortable in her role with Minnesota.

Boston College vs. New Hampshire (home and home)

Friday and Saturday at 4:30 PM Eastern

Watch: Both games will be televised on NESN. Streaming is available on CollegeSportsLive.com (Only available on CBS outside New England, select "Hockey East on NESN" from the "All Partners" menu. They can be streamed inside New England on the NESN website.)

New Hampshire won two of the three meetings between these two teams last season, including a 5-1 win to close out the regular season.

Boston College, who has traditionally been strong on defense, allowed nearly three goals per game last season and actually scored just slightly fewer goals than they let in. They've shored up the back end by bringing in transfer goalie Abbey Levy from Minnesota State and they still have Cayla Barnes anchoring the blue line.

New Hampshire is in a similar situation, with an experienced group returning in their own zone, but having graduated their top three scorers. The Wildcats seemed to be on the verge of pushing through to the top of the conference last season and will be looking to build on that momentum. The middle of Hockey East has been something of a shuffle every year as a few teams vie for positioning, but no one squad has been able to establish itself as a consistent contender for a spot in the top half of the standings.

Providence vs. Connecticut (home and home)

Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Free streaming on Collegesportslive.com

These games are a late addition as part of Hockey East's flexible schedule. UConn was originally scheduled to play Vermont and Providence was originally scheduled to play Merrimack. Both of those teams had to postpone, so their opponents are now playing a series.

Providence beat Northeastern twice last season, accounting for half the team's losses, but they also struggled to string wins together or consistently beat teams they should have. Much like New Hampshire, I think the pieces are here for the Friars to put pressure on Northeastern, BC, and BU, but they really need to figure out how to close out games and take the points they should.

Connecticut is returning most of their offense, but is more inexperienced in net. They had a  program record-breaking season last year and will look to build on that success with largely the same roster. Natalie Snodgrass is the centerpiece of their threat and I'd love to see some other Huskies step up to give her support.

Also worth a look:

  • Colgate vs. Syracuse (home and home) – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern
  • (8) Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central

Photo credit: BC Women's Hockey Twitter.

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