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Evan Marinofsky | NCAA.com | November 16, 2021

5 men's college hockey matchups to watch in November

The top storylines to watch in college hockey this year

If you enjoy watching men's college hockey, mark yourself busy for the next few Fridays and Saturdays of this month. 

November has a lot of great games and ones with early implications for how each conference will shake out come the end of the year. 

Before we get started, each team got a maximum of one game on here and I tried my best to incorporate a little bit of everybody. That way, this wasn't just an "NCHC games to watch in November" piece.

Nov. 5: No. 13 Harvard vs. No. 15 Cornell 

Both Harvard and Cornell look to be two teams gunning for Quinnipiac in the ECAC. Both teams also didn't play last season, so we only really have one weekend of hockey to judge them off of. 

Harvard dominated Dartmouth and Bentley, outscoring them 16-6 over the two games. Cornell needed overtime in both its wins against Alaska Fairbanks this weekend. It's only two games each, so it's hard to judge everything off of the first two regular season games. 

NOVEMBER PREVIEW: Here are 7 men's college hockey storylines to watch

So, instead, we'll put a lot of stock in them playing each other. It'll be a great, early season test for both. 

Nov. 5 & 6: No. 7 Providence vs. No. 12 UMass 

These are the two best teams in Hockey East (so far) and this weekend will be a big test for both, but especially UMass. The Minutemen didn't get the start to the season they wanted after being swept by Minnesota State. This will be the best team they will have played since those two losses.

The Friars have had no trouble scoring goals this season. They're tied for second in the nation in goals scored with 36. UMass is looking to tighten up defensively. This will give it a legitimate test to see if its backend is on the road to making up for the losses of Zac Jones and Marc Del Gaizo. 

And if these do turn out to be the two best teams in Hockey East, this will mean a lot later in the year as to which team grabs the first spot. 

Nov. 5 & 6: No. 4 Minnesota Duluth at No. 10 Western Michigan

Yes, I put three games from this coming weekend on here but only because all three have big implications on the national rankings, as well as conference standings. 

This one goes on here more for Western Michigan than for Minnesota Duluth. The Broncos have been hot, but a conference date with the Bulldogs will be a test to see how consistent they are. Western Michigan is also ranked No. 10. They'll surely be on the move, either up or down, after this weekend. 

RANKINGS: Take a look at the latest USCHO poll

It'll also give a good glimpse as to how the NCHC will shake out. If they dispose of Minnesota Duluth, you can bet on the Broncos finding a spot at the top of the conference. 

Nov. 12 & 13: Quinnipiac vs. Arizona State 

This one is a little bit off the board, but super intriguing. Since Arizona State is independent, it's hard to figure out how to compare it. Still, the Sun Devils look good. With a record of 6-4, they lead the nation in goals (39) at the time of writing this. And yes, that partially has to do with playing the most games, but among teams with at least six games played, they rank fifth in goals for per game (3.90). This will be their biggest test of the season thus far.

Arizona State will look to take down Quinnipiac.

For Quinnipiac, this is also a big game. They're one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Going up against a high-powered offense like Arizona State's will be key in solidifying its top-10 ranking. 

Nov. 26 & 27: Minnesota vs. North Dakota 

Even though this is a non-conference game, it will mean a lot for the tournament bracket come the spring. 

Both North Dakota and Minnesota had their own troubles in October and both will look to right the ship in November. The Fighting Hawks gave up 16 goals over their final four games of October. Three of those were losses. Minnesota also lost three of four, but it came midway through the month and against much better teams — St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth. 

A LOOK BACK: Here are the 5 takeaways from a wild month of hockey in October

This matchup will be a momentum-builder for the team that leaves Grand Forks, North Dakota with better results. These are two heavyweights. I'd expect both to be very close games. 

I also can't forget North Dakota's series right before this one. It's the first time both teams will have met since their 5-OT marathon in last year's regional final. Fortunately for all involved, we know both of these games won't be going nearly as long. 

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