COLLEGE HOCKEY NOW'S ELITE EIGHT Catch Minnesota Duluth if you can

1 | MINNESOTA DULUTH

» RECORD: 18-5-5 » LAST WEEK: 1

The Bulldogs were off over the weekend, but still maintain the coveted top spot in the poll. There are three more weekend series remaining, all with big implications. Earlier this season UMD lost and tied Colorado College, which is at the bottom of the NCHC. The Bulldogs seek revenge against the Tigers this weekend. Then they take on Miami for the first time this season and wrap up against Western Michigan, a team they split with earlier this season. If the Bulldogs don't take care of business down the stretch they could slide down the Pairwise rankings.

2 | DENVER

» RECORD: 20-6-4 » LAST WEEK: 2

The Pioneers kept the Gold Pan Trophy after sweeping rival Colorado College this weekend. Denver is first in the NCHC standings and reached 20 wins for the 16th consecutive year, the longest current streak. The Pios are finally getting back to full strength with Henrik Borgstrom and Troy Terry back in the lineup. When those two are at 100%, Denver can match Duluth’s depth up front.

3 | HARVARD

» RECORD: 17-5-2 » LAST WEEK: 5

For the first time since 1993 the Crimson won the Beanpot, college hockey's most exciting regular-season tournament. Seniors led the way in a 6-3 victory over Boston University in front of 15,941 fans at TD Garden in Boston. Alex Kerfoot buried the game winner on the second 5-on-3 power play goal of the contest for the Crimson’s eighth consecutive win. "It's a game of want and boy, did they want it more than we did ... without question the better team won tonight," BU head coach David Quinn said.

4 | BOSTON UNIVERSITY

» RECORD: 19-8-2 » LAST WEEK: 3

A little bit of a tough go the past two games for the Terriers with losses against UMass Lowell and Harvard. Teams seem to raise their game when facing the Terriers. However, if BU wants to make a deep postseason run that is something they will have to overcome. They play UNH Friday on ASN to try and get things back on track.

5 | MINNESOTA

» RECORD: 18-8-2 » LAST WEEK: 4

The Golden Gophers are back atop the Big Ten after a weekend split with Ohio State. Minnesota went 6 for 10 on the power play. Vinny Lettieri has played big, adding two power-play goals to his six-game points streak. Minnesota heads to Pegula Ice Arena this weekend to take on Penn State.

6 | UMASS LOWELL

» RECORD: 19-9-2 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

Once again the River Hawks are quietly making their way back into the conversation of national championship contenders. After four consecutive losses they've now won four in a row with three games remaining in the regular season. Like Harvard, this team is led by upper classmen Joe Gambardella, CJ Smith and Dylan Zink, who have a ton of postseason experience. This is a team nobody wants to play in an elimination game.

7 | PENN STATE

» RECORD: 18-6-2 » LAST WEEK: Not ranked

A huge sweep over surging Wisconsin this weekend cleared up some of the skepticism that Penn State’s first half was a fluke. When the Nittany Lions were virtually unbeatable during the first half of the season their freshman Nate Sucese and Denis Smirnov were leading the charge offensively. They cooled off to start the second half until combining for 10 points this weekend. The Nittany Lions are in position to make their first NCAA Tournament, but have four tough conference series to end the regular season starting with Minnesota this weekend.

8 | PROVIDENCE

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

The hottest team in college hockey has won nine consecutive games. Josh Wilkins, Hayden Hawkey and Jacob Bryson are freshman having great starts. Sophomore Erik Foley has been a better player since his return from the World Junior Championships. They have a two-game set this weekend with Notre Dame, the team they trail by one point in Hockey East for a first-round bye.

DROPPING OUT

» Boston College (6), Union (7), Western Michigan (8)

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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