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

1 | MINNESOTA DULUTH

» RECORD: 18-5-5 » 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.

2 | DENVER

» RECORD: 18-6-4 » LAST WEEK: 3

The Pioneers swept Omaha Nebraska’s high-powered offense in an NCHC weekend series. Outscoring the Mavs 10-3, the Pios’ veterans did most of the heavy lifting. Will Butcher, Dylan Gambrell, Evan Jansen and Matt Marcinew all registered multi-point efforts in the two games. Denver has won three in a row and sits atop the NCHC standings. The Pios have a home-and-home with Colorado College coming up.

3 | BOSTON UNIVERSITY

» RECORD: 17-7-2 » LAST WEEK: 2

Lawler Rink, home of the Merrimack Warriors, was not friendly to the Terriers last week. After losing two at the hands of their Hockey East foe, BU bounced back with a big win against UMass Lowell on Saturday. The story of the game was the stellar play of both freshmen goaltenders. But BU’s Jake Oettinger came out victorious. He made 33 saves to keep the game in reach for BU. “There are great goalies at our level, and we’ve got one of them,” head coach David Quinn said after the game.

4 | UNION

» RECORD: 18-6-2 » LAST WEEK: 6

The Dutchmen split the weekend with a win over Clarkson and loss to St. Lawrence, which jumped into first place in the ECAC. Mike Vecchione, Spencer Foo, and Sebastian Vidmar continued their dominance against the Golden Knights, but were held off the scoresheet at St. Lawrence. Vecchione and Foo are now one and two respectively among the nations scoring leaders. Their game against Cornell Friday on ASN will have major conference implications.

5 | BOSTON COLLEGE

» RECORD: 17-9-2 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

A win over UConn earlier in the week was followed up by another good effort on Saturday against Notre Dame. BC scored the last four games in a thriller at Kelley Rink in front of a sellout crowd of 7,884. Captain Chris Calnan capped a resilient win for the Eagles, netting the game-winner late in the third period. Boston College is first in Hockey East, three points ahead of Boston University. BC and BU play Monday night in the opening round of the Beanpot.

6 | MINNESOTA

» RECORD: 15-7-2 » LAST WEEK: 5

The Golden Gophers finished third in the aforementioned North Star College Cup. They lost 2-1 to consensus No. 1 Minnesota Duluth before bouncing back against Bemidji State. Goaltender Eric Schierhorn stopped three breakaways in the first 2 1/2 minutes of play. He went on to make 25 saves and backstop a 4-0 shutout of the Beavers, the first time BSU was held scoreless in 38 games.

7 | HARVARD

» RECORD: 14-5-2 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

After a rough patch, the Crimson seem to be picking up their play. Now 3-0-1 in their last four and a 4-1 win over highly touted Cornell, Harvard is back on track. Luke Esposite had a helper on the game-winning goal as well as the Donato goal to make it 3-1. Up next is a conference game with Dartmouth than the always exciting Beanpot tourney for the Crimson.

8 | WESTERN MICHIGAN

» RECORD: 14-7-3 » LAST WEEK: 7

The Broncos continue to play well in the NCHC, splitting with a Miami team that has been hot of late. WMU sits at third in the conference standings behind Minnesota Duluth and Denver, the top two teams in the country. Matheson Iacopelli burst on to the scene earlier this year and leads the team with 22 points. The Broncos have 10 players with double-digit points. Ben Blacker has been arguably their best player between the pipes and trails only Tanner Jalliet (.931) for the conference’s best save percentage (.930).

DROPPING OUT

» Penn State (4), Cornell (8)

Brendan Jones is ASN’s college hockey analyst. Follow him on Twitter at @MustBeJonesy.

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