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Eichel helps U.S. Juniors defeat BU teammates

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

BOSTON -- Boston University coach David Quinn shook his head and smiled when asked what it was like to have to devise a game plan against his usual top-line center, Jack Eichel.

"It wasn't fun and not easy," Quinn said. "Now I know what a lot of coaches throughout college hockey feel like. But he had a lot of help on that team as well."

Eichel scored a shorthanded goal and had four shots on goal to help lead the United States National Junior Team to a 5-2 victory against Boston University in an exhibition game at Walter Brown Arena on Friday. The game marked the final day of USA Hockey's four-day selection camp in Boston. The team will travel to Kingston, Ontario, to continue camp at the K Rock Centre before the start of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26.

The game was a bizarre twist for Eichel, who leads the Terriers with 27 points this season.

"It was awkward playing against my team," Eichel said. "It was a little bit odd because I'm jumping in and playing with a new team and trying to create new chemistry. I led my new linemate [Alex] Tuch on a few passes or was behind him. We created a lot of offense though."

He also lied to BU goalie Matt O'Connor. Eichel scored a shorthanded goal against O'Connor on a picturesque wrist shot from low in the right circle that beat the goalie high to the short side midway through the first period to give the United States a 2-0 lead.

"I told him before the game that I would be looking to shoot between his legs, so when he went down on the shorthanded attempt I went top shelf," Eichel said.

Eichel thought the United States played well, considering it was the first of three exhibition games.

"We wanted to go out there and work hard; we need to be quicker on changes and on our awareness on faceoffs, but overall we wanted to put at least 40 shots on net and we did (41 shots) and hold them to around 20 shots and did that (20 shots)," Eichel said.

United States coach Mark Osiecki said there is a lot of work that is needed to be done before the team is tournament-ready.

"We got an indication where some of the chemistry is and felt good about a couple of lines," he said. "Jack's line [with Tuch and Tyler Motte] has been together for a while. On the bench they're talking about things and it starts with Jack. He speaks almost in a coach's language, not only to linemates but the entire team. He's a tremendous leader and we can build from there.

"I also though [Chase] De Leo's line with Sonny Milano and Anthony Louis did a great job; they were little buzz saws out there."

Tuch (Minnesota Wild), Motte (Chicago Blackhawks), De Leo (Winnipeg Jets), Milano (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Louis (Chicago Blackhawks) are all NHL drafted players.

Osiecki mentioned several areas where he needed to see improvement, including shift length, line changes and additional work on the penalty kill.

At the end of the game Eichel decided to join his BU teammates in a salute to the Terriers' student body that was on hand rooting for their team.

"I was shaking their hands and they grabbed me and told me to stay out for the salute to the fans; it's something we do after each game at BU," Eichel said. "Coach Quinn told me good luck in the tournament; he said to bring [the gold medal] home. I just thanked him for not letting any of the guys hit me."

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