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McDavid, Eichel establish memorable seasons

by Mike G. Morreale /

It was quite a weekend for Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel.

The prospects many consider will be the top two choices in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26 each had record-setting accomplishments.


Week (2 games) Week  (3 games)
2 g, 2 a, 4 pts 7 g, 5 a, 12 pts
Season/playoff stats (40 games) Season/playoff stats (55 games)
26 g, 45 a, 71 pts 54 g, 87 a, 141 pts

McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the draft, became the first player in the 19-year history of the Otters to score five goals in a regular-season or playoff game in a 7-3 win against the London Knights in Game 2 of their Ontario Hockey League Western Conference best-of-7 semifinal series at Erie Insurance Arena on Friday.

His fifth goal, a between-the-legs attempt off the end boards at the right post with 3:56 remaining in the game, was impressive.

"It does amaze me," Erie coach Kris Knoblauch told the Erie Times-News. "I've seen him for two-and-a-half years, and I think I've seen it all. But he keeps on amazing us."

McDavid has five goals, 21 points and a plus-11 rating in eight playoff games for the Otters. He has seven goals in three victories against London and will look to break the Otters record of nine goals in a playoff series set by Cory Pecker in 2001 and 2002. Erie can close out the series on Tuesday in London.

Pecker, selected in the sixth round (No. 166) by the Calgary Flames in the 1999 NHL Draft, also holds the team record for goals in a playoff season (25 in 2002). McDavid on Wednesday was given the No. 1 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Eichel won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award on Friday, becoming the second freshman to earn the award and the first since Paul Kariya led the University of Maine to the national championship in 1992-93.

"It was really nice to hear my name," Eichel said. "My mom and dad are sitting there in the front row. I got choked up there for a minute talking, just because I looked down and saw my mom, and she was crying, so it choked me up for a minute just because of how important my parents are and everything they've done for me."

It certainly has been an incredible ride for Eichel and his family, who have seen their CCM All-American son win Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Hockey East Player of the Year, Hockey East Tournament MVP and the Tim Taylor Award, given to the nation's outstanding freshman.

"Our goal was like, 'If he gets 30 points in college hockey, it's going to be a great year,' " Bob Eichel, Jack's father, said. " 'If BU challenges for the division, it's going to be a great year; if they win a Beanpot, it's going to be an unbelievable year.' Now I'm shocked with everything that's happened. It's been a great run."

The season ended on Saturday when Providence College won its first NCAA national championship after a 4-3 victory against BU at TD Garden in Boston. Eichel, who had two goals and five points in four NCAA Tournament games, finished the season with 26 goals, 71 points and a plus-51 rating in 40 games.

"There's a lot of good players, but if you watch Jack every single night, he's the best player out there," Boston University associate coach Steve Greeley told "Third period, overtime, Jack's going to try to win every single game he plays, and that's why he led the country in scoring."

Eichel, who scored 39 of his 71 points in the third period or overtime, was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.

"We had a good year. We had a great year. We did some really great things," Eichel told The Boston Globe following the loss to Providence. "It's been so memorable. I don't have a lot. It's tough to swallow this loss. We worked so hard. I think we deserved it. It's such a good group."


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