The moment of truth has arrived for Boston University freshman center Jack Eichel, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of the top North American players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.
The 63rd annual Beanpot Tournament, an event that Eichel said he has dreamed about playing in ever since he began playing hockey, begins Tuesday with a doubleheader at TD Garden in Boston. In the opener, Boston University will play against Harvard at 5 p.m. ET; the second game will see defending champion Boston College against Northeastern at 8 p.m. The winners will meet in the tournament championship Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET, also at TD Garden.
EICHEL VS MCDAVID
|Week (1 game)
||Week (3 games)
|2 g, 2 a, 4 pts
||1 g, 5 a, 6 pts
|Season stats (23 games)
||Season stats (28 games)
|15 g, 25 a, 40 pts
||24 g, 48 a, 72 pts
The tournament traditionally pits the Boston area's four Division I hockey programs against each other on the first two Mondays in February, but significant snowfall projected for the Boston region forced the postponement of the semifinals by one day.
Boston University and Boston College have combined to win every Beanpot title since 1994.
"Me and my dad always used to go to town and watch the games on the first and second Mondays in February, so I kind of always grew up watching it," Eichel said. "I always wanted to be part of it, so just the feel that I'm going to be part of it is pretty exciting."
This might be Eichel's only opportunity to participate in the Beanpot as there is a good chance he will be playing in the NHL in 2015-16.
Eichel is a big reason the Terriers (16-4-4), who have won a record 29 Beanpot championshps, will enter this year's tournament with four losses for the first time in 17 years. Boston College has won the past five Beanpots; while Boston University last celebrated a title in 2009.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound right-shot center had two goals, four points and a plus-2 rating in a 9-5 victory against the University of Massachusetts on Friday. Eichel had seven shots on goal and won 15 of 27 faceoffs. Eichel is tied with Harvard junior forward Jimmy Vesey, a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft, in points per game among Division I college hockey players with 1.74.
Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters, is in the midst of the Ontario Hockey League season. The 6-1, 195-pound left-shot center had for one goal and six points in three games this past weekend and is on a 13-game point streak; he has 10 goals and 30 points during his streak.
The Otters (35-10-3) are second in the OHL Western Conference with 73 points, three behind the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. They're No. 5 in the BMO Canadian Hockey League rankings.