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: UMass’s Worst Nightmare
Going into their matchup with UMass Amherst, the #2 Terriers had to feel confident. They had smacked the Minutemen 8-1 earlier in the season, and were coming off a strong weekend with two away wins at Vermont.
BU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, which included a goal from the Eichel line. A weak shot from the dots found itself sitting in the slot, where Eichel corralled it. As both UMass defenders pressured him, he slipped it through both of them to a wide open O’Regan on the backdoor for a slam dunk.
After an undisciplined 5 minute penalty by Evan Rodrigues, BU actually found itself down 4-3 in the third. However, BU’s power play went to work and quickly eliminated that deficit. Eichel hammered home a one-timer from the point to make it 5-5.
A few minutes later, Eichel found a soft spot on the backdoor, where Evan Rodrigues found him with a great pass for an easy tap in.
Jack added his fourth point of the night on a 5-on-3. He passed to Rodrigues at the point, who quickly passed to Oksanen at the dot. His one-timer beat Henry Dill, giving Oksanen a hat trick on the night. Eichel finished with 2 goals and 2 assists, the same stat line he had in their first game against UMass.
The power play finished a sizzling 6-for-9, and is the second best in the country converting at over 26%.
Up next for BU was a much more difficult test, the #6 Harvard Crimson and Beanpot, a tournament the Terriers haven’t won since 2009. The team looked jittery and was generally outplayed in the first half of the game, finding themselves down 3-1 halfway through the game.
However, in typical BU fashion, they turned it on in the second half, tying the game at 3-3 at the end of regulation, with Eichel not figuring into any of the scoring.
From the second half of the 2nd period onward, it was all BU. They controlled the pace of play and bombarded Harvard goalie Steve Michalek with shots. At the end of regulation, shots were 43-28. After the first overtime went scoreless, they were 61-34.
MIH: This is the 4th double overtime game in Beanpot history.
— WTBU Sports (@WTBUSports) February 4, 2015
Finally, on BU’s 67th shot, they finally broke through Michalek’s wall. Eichel pressured the puck carrier coming out of the Harvard zone, forcing a turnover that went right to Evan Rodrigues. On a 2-on-1, Rodrigues slid the puck over to O’Regan who tipped it past Michalek.
Eichel didn’t have a point in the game, but he forced the turnover that scored the game winning goal. He finished with ten shots, and was a possession machine the entire night. There was 82:18 of game play in the game, and Eichel played at least 35-40 minutes of it, as he was out essentially every other shift from the third period on.
BU’s next task would be UMass Lowell on Friday night. After a very strong start, #10 Lowell had gone 2-5 in their last seven games.
BU got off an an uncharacteristically strong start, finding themselves up 3-0 in their enemy’s arena just 8 minutes into the game. On the second goal, Eichel controlled the puck at the top of the circles and made a pass through a multitude of sticks and bodies to Rodrigues on the backdoor for the tap-in.
Five minutes later, Eichel went in two-on-one with Rodrigues, and fed the puck across, through the defenseman, for the 3-0 lead.
Lowell would make things interesting, making it a 4-2 game in the third. However, a power play goal by Matt Lane a few minutes later sealed the 5-2 win for BU. On that play, Eichel’s attempted pass hit a skate in front and bounced to an open Lane on the doorstep.
Eichel finished the game with three assists, all primary. Between the three games, he finished with two goals and five assists. In four career games against UMass Amherst & Lowell, Eichel has three goals and eight assists, a PPG of 2.75.
Eichel is back on top of the scoring charts with 43 points in 25 games, one ahead of Union’s Daniel Ciampini with three games at hand. And after a torrid 11 game stretch where he collected 27 points, linemate Evan Rodrigues is now third in the country in points.
Up Next on the Jack Eichel Tracker: With the Beanpot finals being postponed until February 23rd due to historic snowfalls in Boston, next up for Eichel will be a two game series against the UNH Wildcats this 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])
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