Friday, April 10, 2015

Looking at Last Night, Eichel Wins Hobey

Eichel Takes Home Hobey

This afternoon at Matthews Arena,
Jack Eichel was awarded the 35th
Annual Hobey Backer Memorial 
Trophy. He led the nation in scoring
this season with 70 points (26g, 44a).
Eichel was the first freshman 
nominated in 12 years and only the
second ever to win it. Maine's Paul
Kariya was the other in 1993.

Jack joins Chris Drury ('98) and 
Matt Gilroy ('09) as the only
Terriers to ever win the award.

Matthews Arena is the last rink still 
standing that Hobey Baker played in.

(Photo by Matt Dresens)

A night ago, BU advanced to the National Championship Game with a 5-3 win over the University of North Dakota. By now, everyone should probably know that already, so instead of just recapping the game, I'll try and break it down a bit.

What Caught My Eye
The first period was about as well as BU has played all year and is the main reason they won that game. Instead of coming out timid like they did in the regionals vs Yale, and somewhat against Duluth, BU clicked right away. They had North Dakota back on their heals a bit early and it led to a power play and eventually Jack Eichel's first of two on the night.

The second goal is, undoubtably, one UND goalie Zane McIntyre would like back. It was one of two very questionable goals the Hobey Hat Trick finalist allowed in the game. Granted, Hickey's shot was well placed and through a screen, but it was right on the ice and went right through his legs before it made a tremendous thud as it hit the padding on the inside of the net.

Then there is the Doyle Somerby goal... How that went in, I still don't know. It was a shot from the near-side boards that somehow made its way through four players, under McIntyre's blocker that was down covering the five-hole and into the bottom of the net. It was a one of the those "what the hell, why not" types of shots that if it doesn't make it on net, is generally considered a bad play because it more than likely will end in a turnover. The puck literally missed Oksanen's skate by centimeters and if it had, the puck would have been in the corner. I don't think McIntyre ever saw the puck through the traffic.

Sticking with the theme of poor goaltending... Matt O'Connor had his shaky moments, too. The first UND goal was an extremely high-skilled shot from Luke Johnson that was placed off the bottom of the crossbar and in, just over O'Connor's shoulder. It seemed that after that goal, all North Dakota shot for was high glove. It worked, to a point. Two, maybe three shots cleanly beat the Terrier netminder, but clanged off the crossbar and out.

Then there was the second Sioux goal... This one was a real head scratcher. O'Connor went to play the puck behind his own goal in an attempt to set up a power play rush. From there, he fumbled with the puck and seemed to take his eye off the play. Meanwhile, the puck was in his feet as he tried to get back in his crease, all while he had no idea where the puck was. Troy Stecher was there all alone to tap in the easiest goal you could ask for.

Who Played Well
A.J. Greer... The Montreal native scored on an absolute missile of a onetimer that helped stem the tide back in the BU direction. Before the goal that was masterfully set up by Jack Eichel, BU was getting severely outplayed. Greer got everything, and I mean absolutely everything on this onetime bomb and just blew it past McIntyre.

Casson Hohmann... Hohmann not only set up Brandon Hickey on the power play goal in the first, but was exceptional in the last three minutes, as BU held on. He won a huge battle on the far side boards that eventually freed up the puck for Eichel to ice the game on a 140ft empty net goal.

Ahti Oksanen... He only had one point, an assist on the first BU goal, but also made some critical defensive plays and was strong on the forecheck. It's hard to describe, but he really stood out as having a strong game fundamentally.

Bring on the Friars 
BU will face Hockey East foe Providence College tomorrow night for the right to be crowned National Champions. It's BU first appearance in the title game since '09, and 11th overall. For PC, it's their first trip since 1985 and the second time they have ever reached championship Saturday.

More to come on that game tomorrow morning.  

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