ASN's Elite Eight: Grip slips, but Quinnipiac clings to No. 1
Only one conference remains unsettled, and that’s the Big Ten where Minnesota has earned at least a share of the title. Penn State can earn the No. 2 spot and a first-round conference bye with a sweep against fading Michigan.
Big Blue leads the nation in offense, but defense may cost the Wolverines a first-round bye that looked like a lock a week ago. Michigan has lost three of four and was swept this past weekend by Ohio State. On tap is another offense-minded juggernaut in Penn State. At stake is a first-round Big Ten bye.
The NCHC is heating up, with North Dakota taking over No. 1 in PairWise and St. Cloud State No. 3. We call them No. 2 and No. 5, here and with perhaps the hottest team in the country ranked sixth in Denver. The Pioneers swept Omaha last weekend and get the Mavs again in the first round. The Mavs, losers of six straight, are proving to be one of the streakiest teams in the nation.
UMass Lowell is back at No. 8, but it has the toughest Hockey East quarterfinal matchup with Boston University.
Gotta love this time of the season.
ASN’s Elite Eight
Record: 25-2-7 | Conference: ECAC | Last week: 1
Bobcats rallied from three-goal deficit for 5-4 OT win in first meeting against No. 18 Cornell and blew a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 overtime tie in the second contest.
2. NORTH DAKOTA
Record: 28-5-3 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 2
Leads country in wins, but it’s Frozen Four or bust for PairWise’s new No. 1.
Record: 25-5-4 | Conference: Hockey East | Last week: 3
Eight straight wins for defending national champs with Merrimack on tap. Friars swept the home-and-home series in early December.
4. BOSTON COLLEGE
Record: 24-5-5 | Conference: Hockey East | Last week: 4
Perfect timing for its bye week to get healthy, now comes upset-minded No. 9 seed Vermont, which BC swept last month.
5. ST. CLOUD STATE
Record: 27-8-1 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 5
Outscored Western Michigan 31-8 in four regular-season meetings; No. 3 PairWise.
Record: 21-8-5 | Conference: NCHC | Last week: 6
Swept Nebraska Omaha last week, gets the Mavs again in the first-round of the conference playoffs.
Record: 19-6-4 | Conference: ECAC | Last week: 7
Bulldogs swept season series against Dartmouth, which is coming off 2 OT win to advance.
8. UMASS LOWELL
Record: 21-8-5 | Conference: Hockey East | Last week: Not ranked
Playoff game of the week with 21-10-5 Boston University on tap. They split the regular-season series.
OUT: Michigan (20-7-5) has lost three of four in Big Ten title chase and was swept by Ohio State.