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Home games against Penn State and Cornell highlight Niagara' s hockey schedule

Niagara will open the 2015-16 season on the road, front-loading their schedule with non-conference opponents.

After an exhibition game at Dwyer Arena against Wilfred Laurier on Oct. 3, the Purple Eagles open the regular season  with a North Country weekend, playing at St. Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 9 and at Clarkson on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Niagara returns home to host Atlantic Hockey rival Robert Morris Oct. 23-24 then plays a home-and-home series with Cornell on Friday Oct. 30 (Dwyer Arean) and Oct. 31 (Lynah Rink).

Penn State will make its second appearance in Western New York when they play the Purps at Dwyer on Friday, Nov. 6. The Nittany Lions will also be in Buffalo on Oct. 10 to play Canisius at HarborCenter.

Niagara closes out its non-conference schedule with a game at Michigan on Friday, Nov. 13 and then will play the USA National Development Team in Plymouth, Mich., on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Niagara struggled last season, losing their first nine games and finishing with the worst record in program history - 7-28-4. Early season injuries took a toll and the Purple Eagles never quite rebounded. There is much promise in this year's junior class which excelled as freshmen but suffered a sophomore slump for a variety of reasons. A talented incoming freshman class doesn't have to wipe clean the memory of last season. The solid early-season non-conference schedule will provide a good test for the mix of veterans and rookies with the key keeping their eyes on the games which matter most -- the ones within Atlantic Hockey.

Niagara meets defending conference champ RIT four times in home-and-home series. The teams play Dec. 11 (Polisseni Center) and Dec. 12 (Dwyer arena) and again on Feb. 19 (Dwyer Arena) and Feb. 20 (Polisseni Center.)

The Purple Eagles meet Canisius for just one weekend series. Niagara's first trip to HarborCenter will be Thursday, Jan. 14 and Saturday Jan. 16.

Niagara's 2015-16 schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 3 vs. Wilfred Laurier (exhibition), 3 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 9 at St. Lawrence, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10 at Clarkson 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 23 vs. Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24 vs. Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Cornell, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31 at Cornell, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 6 vs. Penn State, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13 at Michigan, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14 at USA National Development Team (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 20 vs. AIC, 7 p.m
Saturday, Nov. 21 vs. AIC, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 27 at Holy Cross 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 28 at Holy Cross 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 4 vs. Bentley, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 5 vs. Bentley, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 11 at RIT, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12 vs. RIT, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 2 at Sacred Heart 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 3 at Sacred Heart 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 8 at Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 9 vs. Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 14 at Canisius, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 16 at Canisius 3 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 22 at Air Force 9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23 at Air Force 9 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 29 vs. Army West Point, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 30 vs. Army West Point, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 5 at AIC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6 at AIC, 3:05 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 12 vs. Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13 at Mercyhurst, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 19, RIT, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 20 at RIT, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 26 vs. Air Force, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 vs. Air Force, 7 p.m.

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