Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, considered a top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, was held without a point for the first time this season in losses to Harvard and Dartmouth this past week.
It came at a time when the Terriers held the No. 1 ranking in both national polls (USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine) for the first time in over four years. Eichel was also honored as the Warrior Hockey Player of the Week by Hockey East to begin the week.
| Jack Eichel (Noah Buchanan/BU Athletics)
Harvard became the first team this season to hold Eichel without a point in a 3-2 overtime win at Agganis Arena in Boston on Nov. 25. Dartmouth scored a 2-0 victory at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., on Sunday. BU entered the game against Dartmouth having won eight of its previous nine games at Thompson Arena.
"I still thought our first line [with Eichel] had some unbelievable chances," BU coach David Quinn told GoTerriers.com after the loss to Dartmouth. "They shut them down on the scoreboard, but if you watch the tape of that first period, they could have had three goals. It wasn't that they didn't get chances; we just didn't bury them."
The game against Dartmouth was the fifth in 10 days (3-2-0) for Boston University.
The win by Harvard was its fifth straight against Boston University, the team's longest streak in the series since 1964. The teams will play again in the semifinal round of the Beanpot Tournament on Feb. 2 at TD Garden in Boston.
Harvard coach Ted Donato explained how his team was able to contain Eichel after the game.
"I had a rosary bead in my coat pocket," Donato said. "It certainly didn't feel like he didn't have points. He's dynamic. I've had the pleasure of knowing Jack since he was probably 12 years old. His skill level, his ability to control the tempo of the game; he's a tough matchup, but I think our guys tried to be aggressive, tried to angle him when we could."
It also helped that the Crimson were determined to limit those golden opportunities by Eichel as the team blocked 33 shots. Eichel had his 10-game point streak (seven goals, 19 points) end in the loss.
Four days later, however, he began a new one when he produced a goal and two points in a 5-2 victory against Colgate. Eichel currently leads the nation with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and a 1.62 point-per game average for the Terriers (9-3-1). He also has a plus-16 rating.
Boston University will next play a home-and-home series against Merrimack College beginning Friday on the road and concluding Saturday at home. USA Hockey is scheduled to release its roster for the United States National Junior Team selection camp on Tuesday. Eichel will most certainly be a part of that week-long camp beginning Dec. 16.
The projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, has now missed eight games while he continues to recover from a fracture in his right hand sustained Nov. 11.
Dylan Strome, McDavid's teammate in Erie and fellow A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list, has taken over the scoring lead in the Ontario Hockey League with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists). McDavid is still second with 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists). London Knights forward and Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi is third with 49 points (12 goals, 37 assists).
Hockey Canada on Monday will release the roster of players to participate at the Canadian National Junior Team selection camp in December. McDavid has said he's hopeful doctors will give him a clean bill of health so that he may represent his country at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship beginning Dec. 26.