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Top prospects Eichel, Hanifin to meet again

by Mike G. Morreale /

The Green Line Rivalry returns to the campus of Boston University when the Terriers play host to Boston College before an expected capacity crowd at Agganis Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET).

Jack Eichel (Photo: Getty Images)

In addition to the rematch, the game also includes a few high-profile 2015 NHL Draft-eligible prospects going head-to-head. Boston University freshman center Jack Eichel (6-foot-2, 196 pounds) is considered a top-two choice in the 2015 NHL Draft slated June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Boston College freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin (6-3, 203) is considered by many to be the top defenseman off the board at the draft. He is most certainly a top-five choice.

Both players represented the United States at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The United States finished fifth in the tournament following a 3-2 loss to Russia in the quarterfinal round.

Eichel on Monday was named the Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for the third time this season after scoring two goals and four points to lead Boston University (12-3-4) to a 6-1 victory against the University of Wisconsin on Saturday. Eichel, who was also named Hockey East Player of the Week on Nov. 24, has an NCAA-leading 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 18 games. He also leads his team with a plus-22 rating.

Eichel certainly has a shot at becoming the first freshman since Paul Kariya (University of Maine) to win rookie of the year and player of the year honors in the same season. Kariya scored 100 points in his first season at Maine in 1992-93.

In the earlier game between Boston University and Boston College on Nov. 7, Eichel scored one goal on five shots and finished with a plus-3 rating in a 5-3 victory. Hanifin didn't register a point, took one shot and had a minus-4 rating; a performance he would obviously like to redeem on Friday.

In 20 games this season, Hanifin has two goals and 10 points.

"We're extremely pleased with Noah," Boston College veteran coach Jerry York said. "Not only is he a very good hockey player but he's an outstanding teammate. He's earned a lot of respect within the locker room because of his work habits and humble nature and he just turned 18. He's got a lot of qualities going for him besides his ability to play hockey and that makes it more enjoyable to have him around every day."

Since Boston College (12-7-2) lost at home to Boston University, the Eagles have gone 8-3-2 and currently sit four points behind first-place BU in Hockey East.

In addition to Eichel and Hanifin, Boston University freshman forward A.J. Greer is considered a B-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft. Greer has two goals and four points in 18 games for the Terriers this season.

Boston University and Boston College have met 266 times in their storied rivalry with BU holding a 130-119-17 lead in the series. Boston College has won seven of the past 10 games.

There's a chance the teams could face off once again in the Beanpot Tournament next month. In order for that to happen, however, Boston University must defeat Harvard and Boston College must beat Northeastern in the tournament semifinal round on Feb. 2 at TD Garden in Boston.


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