To say that Zachary Fucale has had his share of adversity in his professional career thus far would be a massive understatement. He was thrown to the wolves in his rookie season with the St. John’s IceCaps, and the results showed a goalie who had excellent reflexes, but many exploitable weaknesses. This reputation has rightfully dogged Fucale throughout his career, as even in Junior he struggled to put forth good numbers.
But he’s also found success when it comes to team victories: Memorial Cup champion with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2013, Gold medal at the World Junior Championship with Team Canada in 2015, Spengler Cup winner in 2017.
Currently Fucale is taking part in his first professional playoff games for the Brampton Beast, and he is taking his play to a higher level. After missing the first game of the series due to being with the St. John’s IceCaps, Fucale returned to the Beast for game two, and has absolutely been a dominant force for the Habs’ ECHL affiliate.
In four starts he shows a 1.25 goals against average and a 0.954 save percentage, the best stats among all goalies in the league. He has only allowed six goals in four full games played, helping the Beast take a 3-2 series lead in their first round matchup against the Reading Royals.
The last win was a double overtime thriller win, where Fucale faced 44 shots, stopping all but one in 95 minutes of play, giving him an incredible save percentage of 0.977.
With all the congestion in the goalie depth chart facing the Montreal Canadiens next season, Fucale certainly could not have picked a better time to step up in a big game situation. Next season he will be facing competition at the AHL level from Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven, and any veteran goaltender they are potentially considering in Laval.
The Beast are playing game six in Reading on Monday, hoping to take the series while in enemy territory. So far every game this series has been a one-goal game, with Brampton coming out on top in two overtime contests, highlighting how close this first round series has really been.
Several other Beast players have stepped up as well, most notably Brandon MacLean, who has scored three goals, including a game winner. Top defenceman Jordan Henry added two goals, also including a game winner. Henry’s defensive partner Wille Corrin is getting into the action with 19 shots on net in five games thus far, ranking him second on the team behind Henry with 26. Connor Crisp remains a constant presence on the first line for the Beast, while Dalton Thrower has found a spot in the regular defensive pairings after missing most of the season with an undisclosed injury.
On the flip side, regular season scoring leaders David Pacan and David Vallorani have struggled in these playoffs, with Pacan only registering a single assist, while Vallorani only has a single goal, however it did win the Beast a game. Their disappearance from the score sheet is thankfully made up by the other players on the team, as only two regular skaters have been held without points.
Game six is Monday in Reading. Here are the highlights from the double overtime victory.
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