COLLEGE HOCKEY NOW'S ELITE EIGHT Denver climbs back to No. 1

1 | DENVER

» RECORD: 22-6-4 » LAST WEEK: 2

The Pioneers look to be back at full strength after their weekend sweep of the Miami Redhawks. Troy Terry seems to have fully recovered from his upper body injury after a three-point weekend and highlight reel goal on Saturday night. Denver’s depth is a true thing of beauty when everyone is healthy and coach Jim Montgomery can roll four lines no matter what the situation may be.

“We’re really playing great hockey right now. Throughout the year we’ve been able to respond well to each and every challenge placed in front of us and that bodes extremely well for us as we head towards the conference playoffs and the NCAA Tournament.” — Jim Montgomery

2 | MINNESOTA DULUTH

» RECORD: 19-5-6 » LAST WEEK: 1

For the second time this year the Bulldogs had trouble with Colorado College, salvaging a close win and tie against the NCHC’s last-place team. The Bulldogs need to rediscover their offense this weekend against Miami and prove they are still on par with Denver.

3 | HARVARD

» RECORD: 20-5-2 » LAST WEEK: 3

The Crimson are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, including wins against Boston University, Union, and Cornell - all ranked in the top 10 this week. Harvard has scored four or more goals in its last six contests. Credit seniors Alex Kerfoot, Tyler Moy and Sean Malone and freshman Ryan Donato, who has nine points in his last four games.

4 | MINNESOTA

» RECORD: 20-8-2 » LAST WEEK: 5

The Gophers swept Penn State over the weekend, but it was not easy. On Friday, Minnesota needed three goals in the third period to come back and win, 6-3. On Saturday overtime was necessary for the victory. Freshman Rem Pitlick has provided much of the offense for the Gophers the past few weeks. He has seven points in his last four games and is getting hot at the right time.

5 | WESTERN MICHIGAN

» RECORD: 18-8-4 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

WMU swept North Dakota for the first time in program history over the weekend and really solidified themselves in the national picture. Ben Blacker, ASN Men’s Player of the Week, made 76 saves on the weekend. WMU is deep up front with a great mix of skill and grit that I would not want to play in an elimination game.

6 | BOSTON UNIVERSITY

» RECORD: 20-9-3 » LAST WEEK: 4

The Terriers have the ability to be the best team in the country, but some of their recent play wouldn’t indicate that. At times they struggle to come out of the gate with the same energy as their opponent. It takes BU a little while to get going and that comes with experience, but it is getting to that point in the season where you can’t recover from poor starts. BU managed to tie UNH on Friday after being down most of the game. Then they demolished the WIldcats on Saturday, 8-4. The Terriers play Notre Dame in a two-game series this weekend, including Friday on ASN.

7 | UNION

» RECORD: 22-8-2 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

The Dutchmen dispatched Quinnipiac and Princeton over the weekend at Messa Rink. Mike Vecchione and Spencer Foo are now tied for third nationally with 54 points each. Union showed some depth over the weekend with Jeff Taylor and Brett Supinski combining for six points in the two games. Union also tallied four power play goals and are clicking at about 20% this season. Union is tied for the most wins in the country with 22.

8 | PROVIDENCE

» RECORD: 18-9-5 » LAST WEEK: 8

The Friars came back down to earth this weekend when Notre Dame snapped their nine-game winning streak at Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday, 4-1. The next day was another grind for the Friars. They couldn’t put the Irish away after taking three one-goal leads, settling for a 3-3 tie. Providence ends the regular season with a home-and-home against UMass trying to lock up the final bye for the Hockey East Tournament.

DROPPING OUT

» UMass Lowell (6), Penn State (7)

Brendan Jones is ASN’s college hockey analyst. Follow him on Twitter at @MustBeJonesy. Watch College Hockey Now Wednesdays at 6 p.m. ET on the American Sports Network.

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