USCHO player of the year Eichel excels in the face of lofty expectations

Boston University’s Jack Eichel finished his freshman season with 71 points (photo: Jim Rosvold).

There were high expectations on Jack Eichel entering his freshman season at Boston University, and he met them.

Eichel, the national scoring champion and Hobey Baker Award winner, is USCHO’s player of the year and rookie of the year for the 2014-15 season.

As one of the most watched rookies in college hockey in recent years, Eichel just went about his business of putting up points and helping the Terriers to an 18-win improvement over the 2013-14 season.

The North Chelmsford, Mass., led the country in assists (45), points (71) and plus/minus (plus-51), and he was tied for third with 26 goals.

Boston University was 18-0 when he scored a goal, and he was held without a point only seven times in 40 appearances.

He became the first freshman since Maine’s Paul Kariya in 1993 to win both the Hockey East player and rookie of the year awards, and joined Kariya as the only first-year player to win the Hobey.

Eichel is expected to be among the top two picks in the NHL Entry Draft in June.

“He’s as competitive as you’ll find,” Terriers coach David Quinn said in an USCHO feature on Eichel in March. “He wants to be the best player possible. He’s a great teammate. He wants to win, and not just for him. For all the notoriety and all the attention he gets, he just wants to be another hockey player. There’s no entitlement. With someone getting all the attention that he gets, it has the potential to be a nightmare. And it has been anything but.”

USCHO’s postseason awards were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.

The All-USCHO teams were unveiled on Monday. The coach of the year award will be announced later this week.

Here are the recent recipients of USCHO’s player of the year award:

• 2015: Jack Eichel, Boston University forward
• 2014: Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College forward
• 2013: Eric Hartzell, Quinnipiac goaltender
• 2012: Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth forward
• 2011: Andy Miele, Miami forward
• 2010: Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin forward