BRAMPTON, ON. — Zachary Fucale has just completed his second full year as a professional, and the first full season in the ECHL as the starting goaltender with the Brampton Beast. In 2015-16, Fucale had his challenges at the AHL level, but this season, Zach has been given every opportunity to excel in Brampton.
In ECHL, one should not judge a goaltenders performance on statistics alone, because of the wide open style played by many teams and the number of shots faced. That said, during the regular season, Fucale was among the league leaders in wins, shutouts, and games played.
What seemed to be lacking in Fucale’s game during the regular season was consistent focus. In the QMJHL, a league for a time known as a goalie factory, Fucale seemingly had all the physical tools to excel at the professional level. However, Zach has been unable to regularly show the brilliance he possessed at the amateur level which made him a second-round draft pick in 2013.
Finishing third in the North Division and entering the playoffs for the first time in their young history, Brampton looked to their veterans to lead them in the postseason. However, the 21-year-old native of Rosemère, Quebec was the Beast player who shone most brightly in the playoffs.
Brampton head coach Colin Chaulk has spoken more than once about Fucale being a big game goaltender. Chaulk was proven right as Fucale’s performances in the first round of the playoffs were outstanding. Zach’s numbers were nothing short of spectacular as he led the Beast to a first round victory over the Reading Royals.
In the second round, Fucale did all he could against the high octane Manchester Monarchs. Even in the two lopsided losses to Manchester in games three and four (giving up a total of 10 goals), Fucale never stopped battling. In my opinion, Zach couldn’t be held responsible for a single one.
Fucale completed the postseason with a record of 6-5-0 with a 2.13 goals against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage (Sv%). Beyond his focus being solid, his positional play was much improved, the best I saw from him all season. In the postseason, Fucale challenging shooters and covering post-to-post exceptionally well.
Entering the final year of his entry level contract with the Canadiens in 2017-18, Fucale’s play is a welcome sign for the Habs management team. As stated above, Fucale has all the physical tools to succeed at the professional level. This past season, I believe that he took a step forward towards the focus and consistency that he requires to be a solid pro goaltender.
Edited by Donna Sim