Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch has effectively caught the attention of Team USA, posting 6 points in 3 games during this month’s US National Junior Evaluation Camp. After making the cut and joining the final camp roster, Tuch competed in games against juniors from Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic.
18-year-old Tuch; taken in the first round, 18th overall at this year’s NHL entry draft, posted a hat trick in his first game against Sweden with two assits from Jack Eichel.
Just a day later, facing Team Finland, Tuch presented another strong showing with a goal and two assists en route to a 9-1 trouncing of the Finnish squad.
Tuch netted the first goal 5 minutes in to regulation (5:01) with a quality wrist shot from just outside the crease after a pass from Jack Eichel who set up a screen on the goalie’s left, allowing Tuch to shoot at an essentially open net to the keeper’s right. Eichel and Columbus Prospect Sonny Milano earned assists.
Later in the first (17:22), Tuch, camped out at the point, passed to Eichel at the front of the net. Eichel’s shot deflected wide of the net and was picked up by wide open Chicago prospect Tyler Motte who slammed it home with a wrist shot on the goalie’s stick side.
Tuch, Eichel, and Motte connected again to open scoring 1:15 in to the second frame. During a 3 on 3 rush, Eichel made his way to the slot and dropped the puck off for Tuch who completed a beautiful cross-ice pass to Motte at the left face off dot. Motte then beat the goaltender high on his glove side and put team USA up 3-0.
Following a goal from Kyle Connor; Motte and Eichel would connect again in the second, with Eichel netting his first goal of the camp at 10:03 of the Second during a 2 on 1 rush. After a pass through the neutral zone by Motte, Eichel put on the brakes, dangled the puck, and scored from the slot. Although not credited with an assist, Tuch served as Eichel’s partner during the odd man rush.
To complete his hat trick bid, Motte took a pass from Eichel who had just won a face off in the offensive zone and blasted it home at 11:19 of the final frame, putting USA up 8-1.
Tuch would finish the game with 3 points (1-2), Eichel with 5 (1-4) and Motte with 4 (3-1) as Team USA went on to win 9-1
Tuch was Kept off the Score sheet yesterday against a defensively sound Czech Republic squad, although he did register 3 shots on goal. Team USA would go on to win 3-0 with goals from Tyler Motte, Chase De Leo, and John Hayden.
It’s safe to say that Tuch, Eichel, and Motte have all earned roster spots for the 2015 World Junior Tournament come December, given their strong play and undeniable chemistry.
Tuch and Milano will begin their freshman campaign with the Boston College Eagles this fall. Eichel, the top US prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, will start with the Boston University Terriers, having accelerated through high school and graduating a year early.
With chances to develop as part of Team USA and the competitive Hockey East conference, the future looks very bright for Tuch, Eichel, and Milano.
Check out Highlights from the Finland game
Highlights from the Czech Republic game