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.
Jack Eichel Tracker: Separating from the Pack
Ranked #3 in the country, the Terriers were supposed to play Northeastern in the Beanpot Finals last Monday. However, a historic month of snow in the city of Boston led to the postponement of the game until February 23rd. That meant the Terriers would have four games before the tournament was settled.
The first two games would be a home-and-home with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. The normally strong Wildcats squad is having a down year this year, and entered the weekend with a 5-10-1 record in Hockey East. With two wins, BU was possibly in a position to clinch the Hockey East regular season title.
BU got off to a strong start with two goals from Cason Hohmann in the first seven minutes of the first period, and led 2-1 after one. A few minutes into the second, Danny O’Regan forced a turnover at the UNH blueline to go in 2-on-1 with Eichel. Eichel executed a perfect give-and-go, dishing it to O’Regan, then taking a nice return pass right in front for his 16th goal of the year.
After UNH made it 3-3, BU found itself on the power play with Eichel controlling the puck at the point. He made a pass low and the recipient, O’Regan, switched positions with Eichel. O’Regan went cross-point to Grzelcyk, whose one timer trickled past Daniel Tirone for the goal.
Up 5-3 with an empty UNH net, Eichel had the puck in the offensive zone, and chipped it down low to Hohmann. Hohmann attempted a wrap-around, but was stymied. After taking a few hacks, Ahti Oksanen was able to barely push it across the goal-line for an insurance marker, and Eichel’s third point of the night.
Hey, a point is a point.
On Saturday, the Terriers headed up to Whittemore Arena in Durham, NH looking for the home-and-home sweep. However, they were met with much more resistance this time around as the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first. By the end of the second, it was a stunning 4-0.
The Terriers weren’t playing bad, but they weren’t playing great either. Shots were even at 22 after forty minutes, but Matt O’Connor did not look his usual self, letting up three goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Connor LaCouvee.
They made it interesting in the third, with two goals in a span of 14 seconds five minutes in. On the first goal, Eichel got a clean zone entry with possession as his teammates went for a change. He controlled the puck in the UNH zone, waiting for his teammates to arrive. They did, and Eichel made a pass to Grzelcyk at the point, whose one timer got BU on the board.
BU battled to make it 4-3 with eight minutes left, but Daniel Tirone shut the door and BU fell by a score of 4-3. Eichel finished the game with one primary assist.
Eichel has opened up a five point lead for the NCAA scoring title with 47 points in 27 games. His linemate Evan Rodrigues is now second in the country after going on a 13 game tear where he scored 29 points.
Up Next on the Jack Eichel Tracker: The Terriers will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for two games at Agganis Arena next weekend.
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 XII: UMass’s Worst Nightmare (2 Goals, 5 Assists vs. UMass Amherst, Harvard & UMass Lowell)
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