Zach Fucale starts as Canada wraps up final exhibition game
Zachary Fucale of Team Canada looks up ice against Team Russia during a pre-tournament exhibition game ahead of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Friday December 19, 2014. Dave Abel/QMI Agency
Zach Fucale appears to be Canada’s man in net.
Hockey Canada announced on Tuesday morning that Fucale will be in goal tonight when Canada plays Switzerland in Montreal in the final exhibition game before the world junior.
That Fucale gets the call in the last tuneup is an indication he will be between the pipes when Canada meets Slovakia in its first game of the 2015 world junior on Friday at the Bell Centre. Of course, that could change in the unlikely event Fucale falters against the Swiss.
Where Canada head coach Benoit Groulx goes with his goaltending after the game versus Slovakia is uncertain. The staff thinks Eric Comrie is just as capable as Fucale, as do many world-junior observers.
Canada’s second game of the tournament is on Saturday against Germany.
Fucale was expected to be the starter over Comrie when camp started 12 days ago. Fucale gradually became the starting goalie for Canada at the world junior last year in Sweden, taking over from Jake Paterson. Canada, which has not won gold in five years in the world junior, finished fourth in the tournament.
Fucale will play in the rink in which he could one day become the No. 1 netminder for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs picked Fucale 36th overall in the 2013 draft and he is a solid prospect for a team that already has Carey Price in net.
Comrie, a Winnipeg Jets prospect, had a maintenance morning on Tuesday as Canada prepared to face the Swiss. He will back up Fucale tonight.