After dispatching the Yale Bulldogs and Minnesota-Duluth to win the Northeast Regional, the Terriers were set to face the University of North Dakota for the right to compete for an NCAA Championship. Coming in, many believed North Dakota would be the best team the Terriers had faced all season.
Eichel made his mark on the game early, opening the scoring on the power play less than 5 minutes into the game. A puck squirted loose in front of the net, and Eichel pounced the opportunity to put a backhand shot past Zane McIntyre for the first goal of the game.
BU added another goal from Brandon Hickey in the first, and UND answered with a goal in the first minute of the second to make it a 2-1 game at the halfway point. With eight minutes left in the second, Eichel got a clean zone entry into the North Dakota zone, and found AJ Greer open at the top of the opposite circle.
Greer fired a rocket of a one-timer, and McIntyre could not get across in time. Just like that, BU led 3-1.
Doyle Somerby would add another before the second was over to give BU a seemingly commanding 4-1 lead.
Mental mistakes in the third period would leave the door open for North Dakota, as Matt O’Connor fumbled a puck behind the net and gave North Dakota an easy goal.
Minutes later, North Dakota capitalized on the power play that was the result of a too many men on the ice penalty on the Terriers.
With North Dakota buzzing in the final minutes, Jack Eichel gave the Terriers some breathing room with an empty net goal with 19 seconds remaining. He gathered the puck at his own blueline, and calmly fired a shot right into the heart of North Dakota fans everywhere. The Terriers shut the door, and would move on to face Hockey East rival Providence in the national championship game.
But before the National Championship, an important piece of hardware needed to be awarded. The night before the National Championship game, Jack Eichel was rewarded with the Hobey Baker Trophy for the best player in college hockey.
— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) April 11, 2015
Despite the honor, Eichel maintained he had one goal in mind this year: winning a national championship.
Thanks to an adrenaline boost from the big stage, the Terriers came out flying in the first period against the Friars. Providence would get the first goal, but BU answered back with two before the period ended, and outshout Providence 18-6.
On the faceoff after the first goal, Eichel won the puck forward and went charging at the Providence defense. He crossed the blueline, made a move to the outside, and left the puck in the middle for a closing O’Regan. O’Regan fired a backhander that beat Jon Gillies, and gave BU a 2-1 lead.
Friar Mark Jankowski would tie it at two in the second, but Cason Hohmann answered back seven minutes later to put BU up 3-2 after 40 minutes. With less than ten minutes remaining, BU held onto their lead until tragedy struck.
On what appeared to be an innocent dump-and-change, Providence defenseman Tom Parisi floated a shot in on BU’s Matt O’Connor. O’Connor caught the puck in his glove, but did not realize he had control of the puck. He opened his glove, and the puck fell out to his feet.
Not knowing where the puck was, he dropped to a butterfly in an attempt cover it. However, he pushed it into his own net to tie the game and give Providence life.
Two minutes later, on an offensive zone faceoff, Providence’s Kevin Rooney won it clean back to Brandon Tanev. Tanev took a step toward the slot, and rifled an unstoppable shot past O’Connor to put Providence up 4-3.
Despite a flurry at the end over the last two minutes, the Terriers were unable to equalize the score, and lost a heartbreaker in the National Championship.
In what was likely the last game of his BU career, Eichel finished with one assist. He finished the season with 71 points in 40 games, ten more points than second place Evan Rodrigues, and 13 more than the highest non-Terrier.
Up Next on the Jack Eichel Tracker: Slated to go #2 in the NHL Draft and already NHL-ready, it’s all but assured that Eichel has played his last game in a BU jersey. He will travel with Team USA to play in the 2015 World Championships in the Czech Republic.
Previous Editions of the Jack Eichel Tracker:
Part I: A Dazzling Debut (5 Assists vs. St. Thomas)
Part II: Matching McDavid (2 Goals, 2 Assists vs. UMass Amherst)
Part V: Head to Head with Hanifin (1 Goal, 3 Assists vs. BC & UConn)
Part VI: Manhandling Maine (2 Goals, 4 Assists vs. UConn & Maine [2 games])
Part VIII: Gearing Up for the WJC (2 Assists vs. RPI)
Part X: Power Play Maven (1 Goal, 2 Assists vs. BC & UMass Lowell)
Part XI: Money in Overtime (2 Goals vs. Vermont [2 games])
Part XIII: Separating From the Pack (1 Goal, 3 Assists vs. UNH [2 games])
Part XV: Hobey Baker Race is Over (4 Goals, 7 Assists vs. Northeastern & Merrimack)
Part XVI: Toe Drag Heard Round the World (4 Goals, 1 Assist vs. UNH & UMass Lowell)
Part XVII: Frozen Four Bound (1 Assist vs. Yale & Minnesota-Duluth)
Bill Schoeninger is a Philadelphia Flyers writer and current Boston University student studying business. Coming to THW from Hometown Hockey, Bill follows and writes about the Flyers, Boston University Terriers, and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @BSchoeninger17