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Terriers' Eichel continues impressive start

by Mike G. Morreale

Boston University freshman Jack Eichel is scoring with regularity these days and he is doing so at the most opportune times for his team.

Eichel, considered a top-two pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, extended his point streak to 10 games when he scored the overtime game-winner in a 3-2 victory against the University of Maine on Friday before earning two assists in a 5-2 victory against the University of Connecticut on Saturday.

Eichel now has seven goals, 19 points and a plus-15 rating for the Terriers (8-1-1). He is the first BU player since Nick Bonino in 2009-10 to record at least a point in 10 straight games. Bonino, selected in the sixth round (No. 173) of the 2007 draft, finished with 11 goals and 38 points that season and now plays for the Vancouver Canucks.

The game-winner against Maine, on the power play, was one to behold. After collecting the puck from teammate Brandon Fortunato behind his own net, Eichel skated up his left wing and by a defender before entering the zone. He then used the next defender as a screen and ripped a wrist shot from the left circle that beat the goaltender high to the long side.

Maine coach Red Gendron was asked about the play of Eichel, who has two goals and four points in two victories against the Black Bears this season.

"It's my humble opinion that Jack Eichel, if he were old enough, would be playing in the National Hockey League right now," Gendron told "There were times in Orono [at Maine on Nov. 14] and there were times [on Friday] when he's pretty tough to stop. That's why people are talking about him being potentially the very first pick in the draft or maybe the second.

"He's a special player. We didn't do a poor job on that kid. It's not like he had five 5-on-5 points in two games. That's no disrespect to Jack, we worked hard and did a decent job on the kid."

Bottom line, however, was that he still found a way to get it done. Not surprisingly, Eichel was again an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list released Nov. 20.

Eichel has been playing on the top line with junior left wing Ahti Oksanen and junior right wing Danny O'Regan. The Terriers, who will play crosstown rival Harvard on Tuesday, are unbeaten in five straight (4-0-1).

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, also a projected top-two pick in the draft, continues to recover from a fracture in his right hand sustained on Nov. 11. McDavid has now missed five games, during which the Otters have gone 3-2-0.

In his absence, fellow center Dylan Strome, also an A-rated skater on Central Scouting's November players to watch list, has been fantastic. Strome has six goals and 10 points in five games since McDavid's injury and is on an eight-game point streak and four-game goal streak for the Otters (19-3-1). He is now tied with McDavid for the lead in the Ontario Hockey League with 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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