After Tuesday’s big announcement about the new playoff format, the WCHA today released its entire composite schedule for 2016-17.
And Bemidji State has a similarly-challenging schedule on the docket this time around. Things get started Oct. 7-8 when Bowling Green comes to the Sanford Center.
Here’s some general bullet point thoughts:
• The Beavers get 17 home games — 11 of which are in the first half of the season.
• There are, once again, three nonconference series plus a tournament on the schedule. Three of the Beavs’ nonconference opponents are the same (Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota and the North Star Cup games), with one exception: Arizona State is out, while Princeton is in. The Beavers were supposed to host the Sun Devils this season before heading to Tempe next year, but the new playoff format — which will be played over three weeks rather than two — forced some scheduling changes. ASU, obviously, hasn’t has any trouble filling its schedule so they agreed to drop this year’s series from the schedule. Instead, Minnesota Duluth is back on the schedule for a home-and-home Dec. 16-17 on the last weekend before Christmas Break. BSU swept the Bulldogs last season.
• Princeton is a newcomer to the schedule. The teams have played just one series previously: Dec. 10-11, 1999, when the Beavers swept the Tigers in Bemidji. Princeton was 5-23-3 last season.
• The North Dakota series, unlike last season, won’t be a home-and-home. Instead the Beavers will take on the defending national champions North Dakota Oct. 21-22 in Grand Forks. The series will return to a home-and-home for 2017-18.
• Looks like the Beavers will take on St. Cloud State in the first round of the North Star College Cup. It’s a rematch of this season’s title game, when the Huskies dominated the Beavers 5-2 at the X.
• The Beavers again make two trips to Alaska, but unlike last year they aren’t over two weekends. BSU is in Fairbanks Nov. 4-5 but doesn’t go to Anchorage until Dec. 30-31. Oddly, BSU doesn’t get a week off after that Anchorage trip: Instead, they head right to Bowling Green for a conference series the next week. Usually the league rule states that a team doesn’t have to play a series after heading to Alaska, but seeing as how this is during Christmas break it might not be as big of an issue since they won’t be missing any class.
• Other home series include Alaska Anchorage (Oct. 28-29), Northern Michigan (Nov. 18-19), Lake Superior State (Dec. 9-10), Ferris State (Jan. 20-21), Michigan Tech (Feb. 3-4) and Minnesota State (Feb. 24-25). That’s a pretty good home slate. Aside from Alabama Huntsville, that’s all the conference teams BSU fans might be interested in seeing.
• The Beavers only play UAH once — Feb. 10-11 in Huntsville. That’s the penultimate weekend of the regular season. On the other hand, BSU doesn’t have to go to Ferris State and play at Ewigleben Arena.
• Lastly: The playoffs start a week earlier than usual, this time on March 3. The semifinals are March 10-12, with the one-game WCHA final set for March 18.