The Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, announce today that World Junior Hockey Championship Team Canada gold medalist and Memorial Cup champion Zach Fucale has been reassigned to the Beast.
Considered one of the Canadiens’ top goaltending prospects, the 21-year-old netminder has found success at every turn throughout his hockey career. A second round selection chosen 36th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Fucale spent his junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Halifax Mooseheads and Quebec Remparts between the 2011-12 and 2014-15 seasons and is widely considered to be one of the most successful goaltenders to ever play in the league.
Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan is excited to see Fucale don a Beast jersey and believes he is following the same path that several NHL superstars have taken to reach the pinnacle of professional hockey.
“Zach Fucale is simply one of the greatest junior goaltenders ever,” Kaplan said. “Having won both the World Juniors Gold Medal and the Memorial Cup at such a young age, Zach has a tremendous upside. Furthermore, several great NHL goaltenders, including Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas and Braden Holtby, spent time in the ECHL as a part of their path to the NHL.”
Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk believes Fucale will fit in well in Brampton and feels the young goaltender will flourish during his time with the Beast.
“Zach is someone who always wants the net and will make our team better,” Chaulk said. “We're excited to assist in his development.”
Fucale was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie team and was dubbed the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, thanks to a stellar rookie season in the ‘Q’, appearing in 58 regular season contests and posting a 3.16 goals against average and a .892 save percentage. In the postseason, he appeared in an additional 17 contests with the Mooseheads and took his game up a notch, and recorded a 2.88 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
The following season, Fucale became the focal point for scouts and NHL clubs everywhere as he turned in one of the greatest single seasons in junior hockey history. His numbers were simply breathtaking. He played in 55 games and recorded an incredible 2.35 goals against average to accompany his .909 save percentage.
Throughout the regular season, he was twice named the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Goaltender of the Week and appeared in the CHL Top Prospects Game. Following the season, he was named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team and went on an unprecedented postseason run and recorded an eye-opening 2.08 goals against average and a .913 save percentage in 17 contests.
The Mooseheads would go on to win the QMJHL Championship with Fucale leading the way between the pipes. He started all four games in the Memorial Cup and backstopped the Halifax squad all the way to junior hockey supremacy as Memorial Cup champions.
His stellar postseason performance earned him a place on the Memorial Cup All-Star Team alongside fellow superstars Nathan MacKinnon and Derek Pouliot.
He continued his dominance into the 2013-14 campaign with the Mooseheads, finishing the season with a league-best 2.26 goals against average in 50 games played. His consistent strong performances led to his being named to Team Canada for the World Junior Hockey Championship. In five games played at the World Juniors, Fucale once again performed admirably with a 2.42 goals against average and a .902 save percentage in five games played.
The 2014-15 season was another memorable one for Fucale. He was traded from the Mooseheads to the Quebec Remparts, where he once again went on a long run to the Memorial Cup. He appeared in 20 postseason games and recorded a 2.56 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
Arguably the highlight of his season and quite possibly his entire junior career, Fucale once again backstopped Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship and helped his squad to a Gold Medal. He was the most dominant goaltender in the tournament and led all goaltenders in goals against average (1.20) and save percentage (.939), capping off an extraordinary junior career.
Fucale joined the professional ranks in the 2015-16 season with the St. John’s IceCaps. In 42 games played in his rookie pro season, the Laval, Quebec native played to a 3.13 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. His strong rookie season earned the attention of the American Hockey League, who named him the AHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 14.