ASN’s Elite Eight: Quinnipiac slides back into top spot

Ice hockey under the lights

As far as conference tournament positioning, Quinnipiac’s 4-1 win over runner-up Yale meant nothing Saturday night.

In terms of establishing dominance, the Bobcats showed that despite the Bulldogs’ late-season surge, Quinnipiac heads into tournament play as the class of a very tough ECAC.

Yale had won eight consecutive games before Saturday night, and with Quinnipiac’s back-to-back wins last weekend — and a few key losses by other teams — the Bobcats are back on top of the ASN Elite Eight.

Former No. 1 St. Cloud State dropped to fifth after being swept by in-state rival Minnesota Duluth. The losses also dropped the Huskies six points behind North Dakota for the NCHC’s Penrose Cup with only this weekend’s games remaining.

UND needs just one point at home against Western Michigan to win the NCHC title for the second time in the league’s three-year history. The sweep at Nebraska Omaha lifted the Fighting Hawks to No. 2 in the Pairwise rankings, just ahead of the Huskies.

Providence’s sweep of UMass ran the Friars’ winning streak to eight games for the month and kept them unbeaten for the month of February. It also gave them a share of their first Hockey East title and means the 10 seniors on the squad set a team record with 16 conference wins.

Boston College drops to fourth after its split with Mass-Lowell, but with a bye week to get healthy the co-Hockey East champs are still a team that will make some noise come NCAA Tournament time.

ASN’s Elite Eight

ecac-quinnipiac1. QUINNIPIAC

Record: 25-2-7 | Conference: ECAC | Last week: 3

First ECAC team to finish with one loss in conference play since Maine did it in 1993 — and that team won the national title 5-4 over Lake Superior State.

nchc-northdakota2. NORTH DAKOTA

Record: 26-5-3 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 4

Earned at least share of second Penrose Cup in three years with impressive sweep at Omaha.

Providence College3. PROVIDENCE

Record: 25-5-4 | Conference: Hockey East | Last week: 5

Defending national champions earn share of Hockey East title for first time in school history.

hockeyeast-bostoncollege4. BOSTON COLLEGE

Record: 24-5-5 | Conference: Hockey East | Last week: 2

With freshman phenom Colin White out with injury, saw 15-game unbeaten streak end. Lethal team when fully healthy.

nchc-stcloudstate5. ST. CLOUD STATE

Record: 25-8-1 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 1

Still No. 3 in Pairwise rankings, but getting swept by Duluth at home shows there’s work to be done.

nchc-denver6. DENVER

Record: 19-8-5 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 8

Bolstered by its Pacific Rim line, the Pioneers have won seven and are 12-1-3 since Jan. 1.

ecac-yale7 . YALE

Record: 19-6-4 | Conference: ECAC | Last week: 6

Eight-game winning streak snapped with 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac in regular-season finale, but both have first-round conference byes.

bigten-michigan8. MICHIGAN

Record: 20-5-5 | Conference: Big Ten | Last week: 7

Overtime loss and split with Minnesota last weekend makes conference title chase all the more important for both teams.


Dave Dondoneau

Dave Dondoneau is a freelance writer based in Honolulu. Follow him on Twitter @DakotaHI.