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Comm Ave Rivals Share Uncommon Visit With Wild

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

BOSTON – When Alex Tuch and Adam Gilmour entered Agganis arena on Wednesday, they didn't go through the player entrance, or don any elaborate disguises.

College hockey is traditionally played on the weekends, and the two Boston College forwards and Minnesota Wild prospects are traditionally at college rinks to play. But on Wednesday, they were on the campus of archrival Boston University, taking in Wild practice along with Jordan Greenway, a fellow Wild prospect Boston University forward.

"We took our coats off and left them in the car," Gilmour joked. "We're a little undercover, hopefully nobody figures out that we're from BC and kicks us out."

The trio chatted with Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. They watched from the stands as the Wild skated around the ice where their respective teams—the Eagles and Terriers—wage one of college hockey's greatest rivalries.

The two schools are separated by about three-and-a-half miles. Over 1,000 miles away, the Wild is watching the three prospects, who were selected in the first round (Tuch), second round (Greenway), and fourth round (Gilmour) over the past four years. 

The prospects are watching right back.

"It's kind of hard to get [the Wild] out here just because we have the basic cable at school, so we only get NBC Sports," Gilmour said. "I watched last night. It's a little hard. I have NHL Center Ice, so I see some games on there, too."

They play for two of college hockey's premier programs, and this season, the perennial powerhouses have been true to form: Boston University has a record of 5-3-2, and BC sits at 9-1-0.

Tuch and Gilmour were first and second respectively on the Eagles in scoring last season, with Gilmour also leading in assists, and Tuch second in goals.

"A little bit of a slow start (for me), but I'm starting to get going," Tuch said. "It's a little bit of a different year I guess you could say. A different team, so I'm still trying to get used to that. The past few weeks have been a bit better for me."

Part of that transition has included recently moving onto a line with Gilmour, who just got over an illness that did not keep him out of any games, but had him playing at less than 100 percent.

"I just tried to battle through it, and thankfully I felt a lot better this weekend, and now I'm back to normal feeling like myself," Gilmour said. 

For Tuch (a sophomore), and Gilmour (a junior), the college game is something they know well. Greenway, in his freshman season, coming out of the United States Hockey League, is the NCAA newcomer of the trio.

"The first few games was more of trying to get comfortable with the game, and now I'm pretty confident," Greenway said. "I should really start having an impact here."

His coach David Quinn agreed. Quinn raved about Greenway, saying, "He's going to be a great player for [the Wild]."

Quinn cited Greenway's size and strength making him a natural fit to play in the NHL. Though Greenway has two assists to show for his first nine college games, a deeper delve into the stats can shed light on how he's really played. Boston University is one of a handful of schools in the nation that internally tracks its own scoring chances, and Quinn said Greenway has very much been in the mix.

That includes a recent game against the number one ranked team in the country and defending national champions Providence College, in which Greenway took four shots on goal but had nothing to show for it.

"The biggest thing was the pace, going from the USHL to the college level," Greenway said. "Pace, and just everyone is bigger, faster, stronger, so you just have to get used to that. It wasn't a huge ordeal, but just a minor jump."

How that pace manifests itself at the highest level is something Greenway, Tuch, and Gilmour got to observe on Wednesday watching the Wild, studying the motions, and envisioning themselves in that spot, achieving the ultimate goal of getting to the NHL.

"It's a great experience," Greenway said. "Obviously I want to be here one day, so to just get a glimpse of it now, especially at BU, it's a cool experience."

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