In an ongoing series of articles, the Jack Eichel Tracker will monitor Eichel’s performance and development in his freshman season at Boston University. As a BU student, I will have the unique opportunity to watch him in person often throughout the year. Posts are done weekly or bi-weekly, depending upon BU’s schedule.
Two Big Hockey East Matchups
After taking a win and tie from their trip to Wisconsin, the Terriers faced two big tests at home this past weekend. Sitting at #2 in the polls, the Terriers faced #17 Boston College on Friday, and #6 UMass Lowell on Sunday.
As they have all season, the Terriers started the game slow with a poor first period, and BC took advantage. Sloppy play and undisciplined penalties caused the Terriers to fall into a 2-0 hole after one, including a 5-on-3 power play goal against. In the second, they gave up yet another 5-on-3 power play goal, allowing BC to go 2-for-7 on the night on the man advantage.
The Terriers were able to strike back with a power play goal of their own early in the third. Eichel corralled the puck at the dot in the offensive zone, and pivoted to dish the puck to O’Regan at the top of the circle. He took a quick that that was able to beat Thatcher Demko, giving Eichel his only point of the night.
BU made things interesting with a goal with three minutes left to bring the game within one, but an empty netter sealed the 4-2 upset for the Eagles.
In order to remain on top of Hockey East, the Terriers would need a victory over Lowell on Sunday. They got a better start, an early power play goal three minutes in. Eichel was able to control a puck that had been wrapped around behind the net, and quickly played it to an open Matt Grzelcyk on the point. His well-placed slap pass found a wide open Ahti Oksanen, who redirected it into the net for the early 1-0 lead.
Lowell proved resilient, rattling off three straight goals in five minutes at the end of the first and beginning of the second. The pesky Terriers were able to tie the game at three after 40 minutes. A scoreless third period meant overtime would decide the fate of the game.
A minute into the extra frame, Lowell forward Evan Campbell boarded Eichel with a hit from behind, giving the Terriers a golden opportunity on the power play. Eichel won the ensuing faceoff cleanly, and then assumed his position at the point.
Nine seconds into the man advantage, he got a perfect one-timer opportunity and ripped a bullet high glove over a helpless Kevin Boyle to give BU the win. It was his second overtime winner of the season, and the celebration says it all:
Miraculously, Eichel claims that it was the first one-timer goal he’s ever scored. Eichel finished the weekend with a goal and two assists, all on the power play. The Terriers went 4-for-8 on the man advantage on the weekend, and have the sixth deadliest unit in the country.
Eichel still leads the nation in points with 34 in 20 games, and has four games at hand over second place Cody Wydo. He’s been an incredibly strong possession player, as Ryan Lambert has noted in his live viewings:
updated the CF% for jack eichel and the rest of BU for all my live viewings to date. pic.twitter.com/870LIaPnqf
— ?ryan lambert? (@twolinepass) January 19, 2015
Another encouraging sign from Eichel was his dominance in the faceoff dot against Lowell. If you had to pick an area where he’s struggled this season, faceoffs would be it. However, he’s been improving as of late and seemingly won every draw he took against the Riverhawks.
Up Next on the Jack Eichel Tracker: The Terriers will go north this weekend for a pair of games against the #12 Vermont Catamounts.
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 IX: Back On Top (2 Goals, 2 Assists vs. Wisconsin [2 games])