Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax
It will be a night that will hold a special place in Zach Fucale’s memory – as well as the QMJHL record book – for some time to come.
© JEFF HARPER - METRO HALIFAX
Halifax Mooseheads netminder Zach Fucale.
The Halifax Mooseheads netminder made 24 saves on Tuesday night to backstop the Herd to a 5-2 victory over the host Saint John Sea Dogs, and in doing so, hit the 100-win plateau faster than anyone in QMJHL history.
“We’re really happy for him,” said head coach Dominique Ducharme. “It’s a record that certainly is going to be tough to beat. It couldn’t happen to a better teammate, a better guy. He comes in every day working hard; he’s a great teammate. Obviously, he’s a really good goaltender. To see him set that mark, it’s well deserved.”
With Fucale’s 100th win in 145 games, he eclipses Jacques Cloutier’s 35-year-old record of 100 victories in 150 games. Only six other goalies have won 100 games in their QMJHL career.
For Ducharme, who’s been with the Mooseheads for as long as Fucale has, the numbers speak for themselves. But, he adds, there’s much more to his most recent accomplishment than that.
“He’s won in the playoffs; he was part of a playoff comeback to win in seven games after being down 3-zip to the Quebec Remparts; he’s won a Memorial Cup. He’s made those teams a lot better.”
Adding to the accomplishment, the Mooseheads won their fifth game in a row on Tuesday.
With the score deadlocked 1-1 after the first period, the Mooseheads took control early in the middle frame, scoring three straight goals, compliments of Nikolaj Ehlers, Danny Moynihan and Matt Murphy.
The Sea Dogs would cut the lead in half near the midpoint of the final frame, but Brent Andrew’s empty-netter in the dying seconds would put the game on ice.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Ducharme. “They played hard on the other end. We came out not as sharp as in the previous games. In the third we played much better.
“It was a tough night; we were maybe not at our best. But we came out hard in the third to get the win.”
With the victory, the Mooseheads improve to 31-16-01 and are currently in third place, just a point behind league leading Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
The Mooseheads welcome the Chicoutimi Sagueneens at home on Friday.
Andrew Ryan rounded out the scoring for the Herd. Jonathan Drouin picked up a pair of helpers, giving him 12 points in four games. Nathan Noel and Nicolas Hebert responded for Saint John.