Jack Eichel wins Hobey Baker as a freshman

Boston v Boston College

Boston University forward Jack Eichel became just the second freshman in college hockey history to win the Hobey Baker award as the top National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s ice hockey player on Friday, beating out University of North Dakota junior goaltender Zane McIntyre and Harvard University junior forward Jimmy Vesey for the accolade.

“It was really nice to hear my name,” Eichel said. “My mom and dad are sitting there in the front row. I got choked up there for a minute talking, just because I looked down and saw my mom, and she was crying, so it choked me up for a minute just because of how important my parents are and everything they’ve done for me.”

When Eichel’s name was called and the highlight reel video began playing, Vesey turned to Eichel and laughed.

“That goal he scored against Wisconsin, it was pretty hilarious,” Vesey said. “It was just a highlight-reel goal. He’s just such a good skater and he uses edges so well there, and his reach and then the shot.”

The 18-year-old sensation more than lived up to the hype during his time with Boston University, where he led the nation in points (70), assists (44), power-play points (23) and plus-minus (plus-51). In seven playoff games, Eichel has scored eight goals and seven assists—including two goals and had an assist against North Dakota in his team’s 5-3 victory in the Frozen Four. BU will compete against Providence College for the national championship tonight.

“It’s going to be a great game,” Eichel said. “To be able to play the national championship only 30 minutes from my home, my freshman year of college, it’s truly been a dream-come-true season and probably the most memorable I’ve ever had.”

Eichel won’t comment on his plans for next season, but he’s largely believed to be a lock as the second overall selection in this year’s NHL Entry Draft behind Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid of the Ontario Hockey League.

“I’m sure when the season is over I’ll sit down with the people that are close to me and be able to make a decision,” he said.

Vesey,who was selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round in 2012, intends to return to Harvard for his senior year. He led all Division I players with 32 goals and finished with 58 points. Harvard lost 4-1 to Nebraska-Omaha in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Earlier in the day, McIntyre was awarded the Mike Richter Award, which is given to the outstanding goaltender in college hockey. The junior led the nation with 29 wins and finished the season with a .929 save percentage and a 2.05 goals against average. McIntyre is North Dakota’s all-time leader in career save percentage and GAA.The Boston Bruins selected McIntyre in the sixth round in 2010, although he has yet to make a decision on turning pro.

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