Zachary Fucale won his first game in the ECHL with the Brampton Beast on Sunday afternoon, helping the team claim a 4-3 shootout win over the Missouri Mavericks.
The victory is Fucale’s first of the season after losing his first two starts with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. He earned it by stopping 31 of 34 shots faced, turning aside all but one in a barrage of 15 shots faced in the second period alone. He was named the first star of the game for his performance.
He spent the entire 2015-16 season with the St. John’s IceCaps, save for an emergency recall to the Montreal Canadiens where he did not see any game action. In his rookie professional season, he was thrust into a starter role, and supported by an ever-changing defensive corps, as 17 different players suited up on the blue line for the IceCaps.
With the offence drying up as well, it is no surprise that he struggled at times with the pressure of trying to prop up his team, his concentration tested, which affected his play despite his obvious athleticism.
Despite last season’s struggles, Fucale was named the IceCaps Man of the Year for his various community contributions. This is a clear indicator of the calibre of individual under the mask, one who hopefully puts his past struggles aside and focuses only on improving going forward.
In the ECHL, he will be able to play some big minutes away from the spotlight, and hopefully focus on turning around his development without the pressure of holding the whole team on his back.
The Beast play their next game on Friday, November 4 against the Kalamazoo Wings.