Union College has a tough act to follow as it opens its Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey regular season tonight.
The Dutchmen host Merrimack of Hockey East at 7 p.m. at Messa Rink.
For the past two seasons, Union has skated off with the regular season championship in the ECAC, taking home the Cleary Cup. Last season, Union captured the ECAC Hockey Tournament at season's end, advanced to the NCAA Hockey Tournament for the second straight season and reached the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. There, the Dutchmen lost to Ferris State (Mich.) in the semifinals.
Merrimack posted an 18-12-7 record last season, ending its season with a loss to Maine in the Hockey East Tournament semifinals. Union defeated Merrimack, 3-1, on Dec. 17 last season in North Andover, Mass. At the time, Merrimack was ranked No. 5 in the nation and Union was ranked No. 11. Daniel Carr, Shayne Gostisbehere and Kelly Zajac (empty net) scored for Union.
After tonight, Union takes to the road for five games and does not return home again until Nov. 3 when cross-region rival RPI visits Messa Rink.
Union is ranked No. 5 in the nation in the pre-season USCHO poll.
To view a season preview story on the Dutchmen, complete with player profiles, click HERE.
To view a story on Union captain Mat Bodie, click HERE.