What to watch: 2016 debuts

A new year arrives and brings with it more college hockey. Half of the Ivy League gets started on 2016’s first day in two of the four conference games over the weekend, all in the ECAC. The start of the work week brings a couple of Hockey East contests. The CHA and WCHA teams that take to the ice do so in non-league action, including a series matching a couple of Big Ten programs. All told, there will be 20 NCAA contests before 2016 is more than a week old. Here are some of them.

Brown at Princeton, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Tigers host a pair of clubs that sit below them in the ECAC standings. A sweep could boost them into the rankings, as they start the year just two votes shy of the 10th spot. First up is Brown, which has won three of its last seven games after starting the campaign on a six-game losing skid.

Yale at No. 4 Quinnipiac, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Bobcats are likely to be ready for this game, because Yale inflicted their only loss to date back on the final day of October. Quinnipiac looks to preserve its advantage atop the ECAC. Yale, which figures to be part of the battle to gain the league’s top eight, has 16 ECAC games remaining on its slate.

Dartmouth at No. 8 Northeastern, Saturday, 2 p.m. EST
The Big Green started the season by surprising a ranked opponent, and they could use similar magic to kick off their second half after losing six straight. The Huskies have mostly handled the teams that they should beat, and January brings 10 straight games versus unranked opponents.

Vermont at Union, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
The Dutchwomen hunt once more for that elusive first win, this time against an opponent that has suffered a couple more losses than Union has. Both teams snapped long losing streaks in their final skate of 2015, Union by tying Maine and Vermont with a defeat of Dartmouth.

Penn State at Ohio State, Saturday and Sunday, 2:07 p.m. EST
These teams share a conference in most sports, just not in women’s hockey. In the only previous meetings, the Buckeyes swept series in each of the past two seasons.

Rensselaer at Mercyhurst, Saturday, 3 p.m. EST, and Sunday, 1 p.m. EST
After going winless in their first six games, the Lakers have pushed their overall mark above .500. The Engineers closed 2015 with a win to break a five-game winless stretch. The two programs last met in 2009, a Mercyhurst sweep.

Providence at Robert Morris, Saturday, 7:05 p.m. EST, and Sunday, 2:05 p.m. EST
Both teams started slowly. The Colonials were winless in their first four efforts, but closed at a 10-3-3 pace. The Friars dropped their first seven games, but have gone 6-4-0 since then.

Lindenwood at Minnesota State, Sunday and Monday, 2:07 p.m. CST
The Lions will be the busiest team at the onset of the new year, making a four-game swing through Minnesota. The first half takes them to Mankato to face the Mavericks. While MSU has been winless in the WCHA, it has done a bit better out of conference while going 2-1-1. The Lions have had a similar problem with all eight of their nonconference losses coming against WCHA opponents. The teams played a three-game set in Missouri last season with the Mavericks winning twice.

No. 10 Colgate at Syracuse, Monday, 7 p.m. EST
The Raiders held on for a 2-1 win when the teams played in November in Hamilton, despite the Orange outshooting Colgate by a 36-17 margin. Only one minor penalty was assessed in that contest.

Connecticut at Northeastern, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
This is the first of three games this month between the two Hockey East squads of Huskies.

Merrimack at St. Lawrence, Wednesday, 2 p.m. EST
The Saints are another team that has rallied after a slow start and now sit at the .500 mark. The Warriors hit a wall in their first season, closing the first half with 11 consecutive losses.

Lindenwood at No. 5 Bemidji State, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:07 p.m. CST
The Lions got their first victory over the Beavers in seven attempts in the most recent meeting a year ago.