Hockey

Although he’s made it look straightforward, Alex Tuch’s journey hasn’t precisely been a straightforward journey

WASHINGTON — Alex Tuch received’t say if Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono ever robbed him fairly as badly as Washington’s Braden Holtby had in Sport 2 again when the 2 childhood buddies had been enjoying in his yard rink in Syracuse, N.Y.

But when they had been out on the soccer pitch, there’s no query as to who had the sting.

“My soccer abilities are very, very common,” mentioned Tuch, a ahead with the Vegas Golden Knights. That’s definitely not the case with Bono, who final yr set a Toronto FC file with 10 shutouts and helped the crew win the MLS Cup.

“He’s tearing it up,” mentioned Tuch. “What does he have probably the most shutouts for a rookie ever in MLS historical past — clear sheets, as they name it — it’s unbelievable. It truly is. Truthfully, I wasn’t the largest soccer fan rising up. However as quickly as he began enjoying for Toronto FC, I used to be 100% on board. I’m a fan and it’s superior. I’m cheering for them on a regular basis.”

The admiration goes each methods.

Tuch is 2 years youthful than Bono, however is similar age as Bono’s youthful brother. The three of them grew up across the nook from each other and went to the identical faculties all of the as much as school. Throughout winters, they’d spend hours virtually each day enjoying hockey on the rink that Tuch’s dad constructed within the yard.

“I used to play goalie in opposition to him on the ice, now he’s enjoying within the Stanley Cup Last. It’s actually cool,” Bono informed Postmedia Information. “They’re doing the unattainable. For him, that’s unimaginable. It’s been a extremely superior journey for himself and for a rookie — his playoff stats — it’s like he’s enjoying a online game on the market.”

Toronto FC Alex Bono celebrates after the ultimate whistle after defeating the New York Purple Bulls on away objectives to win the MLS Jap Convention semifinal in Toronto on Sunday, November 5, 2017. Chris Younger/The Canadian Press file picture

Although he’s made it look straightforward, Tuch’s journey hasn’t precisely been a straightforward journey. A primary-round choose of the Minnesota Wild in 2014, Tuch spent two years at Boston Faculty and one other within the minors earlier than lastly making his NHL debut. 

In six video games with the Wild, he didn’t rating a single level. When the enlargement draft arrived, he was tossed in as a commerce in order that Vegas would choose Erik Haula moderately than defenceman Mathew Dumba. It proved to be an enormous mistake that in the end price Chuck Fletcher his job because the crew’s basic supervisor.

Not solely did Haula have a profession yr with 29 objectives and 55 factors, however Tuch additionally emerged as one in every of Vegas’ high younger gamers.

The 22-year-old rookie spent the primary 4 video games within the minors, however as soon as he was known as up he scored in every of his first two video games and ended the season with 15 objectives and 37 factors in 78 video games. Regardless of being on the incorrect aspect of a highlight-reel save, he’s been even higher within the playoffs, with six objectives and 9 factors in 17 playoff video games.

It was an awesome save, and it’s going to occur whether or not it’s going to be to me or one other man on this room, or a man in that room,” Tuch mentioned of coming near sending Sport 2 into time beyond regulation. “It occurs. I feel I’m enjoying fairly properly up to now. To be right here proper now it’s been unbelievable. It’s been the perfect time of my life.”

It may get even higher if Tuch manages to observe Bono’s path and in addition win a championship this yr. If that’s the case, there is no such thing as a query that he would convey the Stanley Cup again to Syracuse and have fun with Bono. Or possibly he would convey it to MLS recreation.

In spite of everything, he nonetheless hasn’t had the possibility to see one but.

“We had been in Toronto throughout the (MLS) playoffs, however we had been enjoying the Maple Leafs and I wasn’t in a position to go,” mentioned Tuch. “They had been really staying in a resort throughout the playoffs too and we had been staying on the identical resort, so he got here by and mentioned hello. I used to be joyful to see him. I’m so joyful for him.

“However I’ve to go. I undoubtedly need to. It’s solely a three-hour drive from Syracuse so possibly I’ll choose up his brother and we’ll go collectively.”

— Postmedia Information, with information from Ryan Wolstat

mtraikos@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Michael_Traikos

***

ROOKIE RISING

Groups often depend on expertise at the moment of yr. However neither the Golden Knights nor the Capitals could be right here with out the contributions of their kids.

Vegas’ Alex Tuch is ranked second in rookie scoring with six objectives and 9 factors — Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor nonetheless leads with 10 factors — whereas Washington’s Chandler Stephenson and Jakub Vrana every have two objectives and 7 factors, and defenceman Christian Djoos has an help and is logging near 11 minutes per recreation.

“No matter probability I received, I simply tried to exit and have enjoyable and ensure I do issues proper and I assist the crew,” mentioned Vrana.

“I exploit the time period he’s a Swiss Military knife for our crew,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz mentioned of Stephenson’s versatility. “If he’s on extra of a grinding line, he’ll play that grinding fashion. If he’s with expert individuals, he’ll play that ability recreation. If he’s enjoying the wing with somebody who will get the puck to area, he’s going to make use of his pace. He’s very adaptable on this recreation. He’s kind of that man that may swing far and wide for us. Very, very useful.”

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