He came, he saw, he did what Hockey East fans throughout New England became accustomed to seeing Jack Eichel do, last season.
The North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native returned to Boston, where he became a star last season as a freshman at Boston University and torched his hometown heroes, the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins, for two goals in leading his new team, the Buffalo Sabres, to a come from behind 6-3 victory.
Eichel scored twice and came close to adding a third goal, as the Sabres put five goals past Bruins goaltender, Jonas Gustavsson, in the game’s third period at TD Garden.
Eichel added two assists for a four-point night, the first of his young NHL career and was named the contest’s number one star.
Eichel admitted to feeling the butterflies prior to the game but was feeling much better after the contest.
“You know I was a little bit nervous jumping on the ice for warm-ups, but just an exciting game throughout,” Eichel said after the game. “You know, just exciting to get a win and do it in the fashion that we did in front of so many friends and family.”
“It’s great to come into Boston, it’s a great team that we just played and they’ve been pretty hot lately, so for us to come back in the third, it’s a great win.”
For some players, the Christmas break is just what the doctor ordered. For Eichel, that appeared to be the case as he spent the time back home in the Bay State with his family.
“Yeah it was nice to see some family and friends, just kind of unwind a little bit,” the NHL rookie said. “It’s been pretty busy for me the last few months, a little overwhelming at times, and just to go home and see the people that I’ve always been around – my mom, my dad, my sister, you know my whole family. So it’s nice to spend some time at home and kind of mentally regain yourself.”
That was all it took for the number two overall selection in last June’s NHL Entry Draft to regain his scoring touch.
“I think there’s times this year where I could have had points in games and I didn’t, and today I think I just got the bounces, and sometimes the bounces come to you and you get that luck,” said Eichel.” And it’s nice to get it in this building.”
For Jack Eichel, the building that became his personal House of Horrors in last year’s NCAA National Championship game, is once again, one of his favorite arenas.
“That’s not the best memory, for me,” Eichel said when the topic turned to his Boston University Terriers losing the 2015 National Title game to Hockey East rival, Providence College. “You know that was the last time I ever put a BU jersey on, and that was a special team, but – I have a lot of really good memories in here too. So I think those ones overtake that one bad memory, and this is another great memory that I’ll never forget.”
Follow ESPN New Hampshire’s NHL/NCAA Hockey Writer, Shawn Hutcheon on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.