COLLEGE HOCKEY NOW'S ELITE EIGHT MINNESOTA DULUTH CONTINUES NO. 1 RUN

1 | MINNESOTA DULUTH

» RECORD: 17-5-4 » LAST WEEK: 1

The Bulldogs are already the deepest team in the country and over they weekend they got even better. Their captain, Dominic Toninato, wasn't having the season that most expected, but he seems to be turning it on when it matters most. A four-point series in a win and tie with Omaha could be the start of something big. If he gets going it will to be tough to stop Duluth down the stretch. Freshman goalie Hunter Miska posted his school record-tying fifth shutout this season in UMD's 5-0 victory on Friday.

2 | DENVER

» RECORD: 18-6-4 » LAST WEEK: 2

The Pioneers were off this weekend, but were busy gearing up for four consecutive weekend series with NCHC opponents to end the regular season. Denver doesn't play UMD, North Dakota or Western Michigan, but that doesn't mean the Pios have an easy road against the bottom of the best conference in college hockey. If the Pios can stay healthy, they can match Duluth’s depth.

3 | BOSTON UNIVERSITY

» RECORD: 18-7-2 » LAST WEEK: 3

The Terriers got their revenge on the Eagles Monday night with a 3-1 Beanpot semifinal win. This marks the first time BU has swept the season series against their crosstown rival since the 1994-1995 campaign. Also over the weekend the Terriers skated to a 3-1 victory against UMass and look to be bouncing back nicely from their hiccup with Merrimack a week ago. Dante Fabbro is starting to find the score sheet, which bodes well for BU. They'll need him to be the first-round draft pick they expected him to be down the stretch if they want to go deep into the postseason.

4 | MINNESOTA

» RECORD: 17-7-2 » LAST WEEK: 6

The Golden Gophers look to be saving their best hockey for the end of the regular season, sweeping Penn State this weekend at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota's roster was always loaded with talent, but getting consistent production was a different story. Now the players who need to step up are and then some. Justin Kloos, Jake Bishoff, and Rem Pitlick had big nights on Friday. On Saturday, Leon Bristedt netted a hat trick to earn ASN’s Player of the Week honors.

5 | HARVARD

» RECORD: 15-5-2 » LAST WEEK: 7

The Crimson will play in the Beanpot final against BU on Monday after a 4-3 win over Northeastern in the semis. After a tough stretch Harvard is 5-0-1 in their last six games and back to looking like a Top 10 team. They have six players with more than 20 points on the season and nine in double digits. They spread the offense around, but that hasn't been their problem if they have any. They'll need more consistent goaltending from Merrick Madsen if they want to compete for a Whitelaw Cup in the ECAC.

6 | BOSTON COLLEGE

» RECORD: 18-9-2 » LAST WEEK: 5

The Eagles dropped their semifinal game against BU in the Beanpot and will take on Northeastern in the third-place game. Not the best start to "trophy season" as Jerry York would say. The loss snapped BC's four-game winning streak as they look to get back to their winning ways against Merrimack Friday on ASN. Seniors Matty Gaudreau, Ryan Fitzgerald and Austin Cangelosi continue to lead this team.

7 | UNION

» RECORD: 19-7-2 » LAST WEEK: 4

After the showdown with Cornell Friday on ASN, a 5-3 loss, the Dutchmen responded with a 3-1 win against the Big Red on Saturday. Mike Vecchione shined in the national spotlight tallying a short-handed and power-play goal on ASN, continuing to make his case for the Hobey Baker Award. Vecchione added another goal and assist on Saturday and still holds the nation’s lead in points with 48. If Union doesn't get production from their big three, wins are tough to come by.

8 | WESTERN MICHIGAN

» RECORD: 15-7-4 » LAST WEEK: 8

The Broncos got caught by Arizona State, as most have this season. While ASU has made massive strides in Year Two as a varsity program, most of their wins against top teams are a result of opponents playing down to their level. This was the case on Saturday when WMU tied ASU in their second game. The Broncos remain sixth in the Pairwise rankings with upcmoing series against North Dakota and UMD. WMU split with both earlier this season.

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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