Bulldogs women prepare for difficult 2018-19 hockey schedule

Submitted / UMD Athletics

For a program associated typically with one of the nation’s strongest schedules, University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey head coach Maura Crowell has her Bulldogs once again looking at a thriller of a 2018-19 schedule.

The Bulldogs will enter their 20th season this fall, and to celebrate, they will skate in 16 games of a total of 32 regular contests against teams that finished in the top-8 of the nation just on season ago. In 2017-18, the Bulldogs went 15-16-4 overall and claimed fourth place in the WCHA. UMD played 15 games — almost half its schedule — against teams ranked in the top-10, and posted a 3-10-2 record against those opponents.

UMD’s upcoming schedule includes three of the four NCAA Frozen Four Teams from 2018, as well national champion Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. on Nov. 23-24. The other Frozen Four squads are Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes, giving UMD a minium of four games against both the University of Wisconsin — who visits AMSOIL Arena on Feb. 15-16 — and Ohio State University. The Buckeyes, fresh off their first-ever Frozen Four berth, travel to Duluth to face the Bulldogs in 2019 on Jan. 18-19.

On top of Frozen Four attendees, UMD will face five of the top six teams that landed in USCHO.com’s final year-end poll. The Bulldogs will face No. 5 in that poll, Boston College, to open the season on Sept 28-29 at AMSOIL.

UMD will then host the University of Minnesota, ranked sixth to end the year, the weekend after the Golden Eagles leave Duluth on Oct. 5-6. In fact, similar to seasons in the past, the Bulldogs will face teams ranked in the top six to end the previous season in their first six games (or three series), to start 2018-19.

New to UMD’s schedule this year is the Minnesota Cup, which will be held on Jan. 4-5 in Minneapolis, Minn. at the Gopher’s Ridder Arena. The inaugural Minnesota Cup will feature Minnesota, Minnesota State University, Mankato and St. Cloud State University in a tournament format. All games will be considered non-conference.

With a total of six games against non-WCHA rivals, UMD will also face two programs it has never faced in its own program history — Clarkson and Quinnipiac University. While the Bulldogs face the defending national champions on the road, they will entertain the Bobcats at AMSOIL on Jan. 25-26.

The Bulldogs exhibition schedule will also be vastly improved. While the Minnesota Whitecaps have become a familiar name to UMD fans as yearly exhibition opponents for the Bulldogs, the Whitecaps are now a member of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), and became the first expansion NWHL team this past May. UMD will face pro team to open the season at AMSOIL on Sept. 22, and then again on Nov. 3.

Source: UMD Athletics