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Top America East Games To Watch

With every America East team’s schedule announced, which games should you circle on your calendar?

NCAA Lacrosse: Quarterfinals - Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Albany Great Danes Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The America East was the ninth conference to have every team announce their schedule.

With that, let’s list some of the best regular season games involving CAA teams in 2017.

We’ll start with listing some nonconference games to watch.

FEBRUARY

Vermont @ Furman (February 2, WHICH IS TODAY!)

UMBC @ North Carolina (February 4)

UMBC @ Johns Hopkins (February 11)

Albany @ Syracuse (February 18)

Boston University @ Hartford (February 18)

UMBC @ Richmond (February 18)

Marist @ Binghamton (February 25)

Hartford @ Bryant (February 25)

Stony Brook @ Brown (February 25)

Siena @ UMass Lowell (February 25)

Vermont @ Providence (February 25)

MARCH

Albany @ Cornell (March 4)

Jacksonville @ Hartford (March 4)

Fairfield @ Stony Brook (March 4)

UMass Lowell @ Monmouth (March 4)

Vermont @ Harvard (March 4)

Binghamton @ Siena (March 7)

Stony Brook @ Rutgers (March 10)

Maryland @ Albany (March 11)

Hartford @ Quinnipiac (March 11)

UMBC @ Marist (March 11)

Lehigh @ Stony Brook (March 14)

Stony Brook @ Hofstra (March 21)

UMBC @ Michigan (March 25)

Albany @ Harvard (March 29)

APRIL

Lafayette @ Binghamton (April 1)

Princeton @ Stony Brook (April 8)

UMass Lowell @ Dartmouth (April 11)

Yale @ Albany (April 22)

UMass Lowell @ NJIT (April 29)

TOP GAME: Albany usually has some very good games year in and year out, and it continues in 2017. Their annual rivalry with Syracuse has been fierce, and I think it will be their best nonconference game to watch. Oh, and the Orange defeated the Great Danes in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. They also take on Maryland, Harvard, and Yale in 2017, and last year’s game against the Bulldogs was an excellent late-season game.

TOP MATCHUP: I’m going to be intrigued by how Vermont’s offense, led by Ian MacKay and Cam Milligan, will fare against Harvard’s defense that lost all three starters from a year ago, but do bring back starting goaltender Robert Shaw. The Catamount offense averaged 12.3 goals per game, and with new head coach Chris Feifs, Vermont has a ton of hope for 2017.

UNDER-THE-RADAR GAME: The rematch between Hartford and Quinnipiac should be a good game to see how both of those programs have fared since they won their respective league tournaments last season. Dylan Jinks and Jaedon Henderson return to the Hawks, along with FOGO Dylan Protesto. They’re becoming a threat to Albany’s America East dominant rule of the conference.

From the nonconference games to the conference games, here’s my Top 5.

  1. Hartford @ Albany (April 29) - I think this will be the eventual America East championship game the following week. This could also mean who will host the conference tournament as well. Protesto against Zach Ornstein will be an important battle at the face-off X. I really hope the America East has some competition this year.
  2. Hartford @ Vermont (April 1) - It’s the rematch of last year’s high-scoring America East championship game, and both teams have high aspirations of reaching the NCAA Tournament this season. I expect this game to be a shootout, based on last year’s 17-16 result.
  3. Albany @ Vermont (March 18) - Vermont’s high-scoring offense against Albany’s high-scoring offense will surely make this game another shootout. But who will have the edge on defense? That could be a big factor in this early conference meeting.
  4. Albany @ Stony Brook (April 1) - For the past couple of years, Stony Brook was seen as a threat to Albany in the AE. That’s not the case anymore with Hartford and Vermont starting to be in the mix. I still think this will be a big game in the America East, and it could even be a close one.
  5. UMBC @ Stony Brook (March 18) - Alex Corpolongo returns to a Seawolves team that lost Challen Rogers and Matt Schultz from a year ago. UMBC could be seen as a team on the rise with the addition of Ryan Moran as head coach, after helping Loyola to an appearance in Championship Weekend. Could it be a game of two teams going in different directions?