Fucale to start for Halifax Mooseheads in pivotal Game 5: Ducharme

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Geordon Omand - Metro Halifax

Halifax Mooseheads netminder Zach Fucale.

Veteran Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale will be back between the pipes in Halifax on Saturday, says head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Fucale will start in net for the much-anticipated Game 5 of the third-round QMJHL series against the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

“We wanted to give Zach some time so he could go back on the ice and practice,” said the Mooseheads’ bench boss.

“He’s ready to go,” Ducharme added Saturday morning about Fucale’s return.

While Fucale sat out for Game 4 last week in Val-d’Or, backup netminder Kevin Darveau stepped in to help the Mooseheads seal a clutch 5-4 victory and tie up the best-of-seven semi-final series 2-2.

Two unusually poor starts last week in the third-round series — both of which saw backup Darveau take his place in net — were out of keeping with what has otherwise been an impressive season for Fucale.

As one of the Herd’s star players, the 18-year-old Montreal Canadiens draft pick topped the league in the regular season with a 2.26 goals against average over 50 games.

The team’s back-up netminder has also been pulling his weight, most recently with an outstanding Game 4 performance, making 31 saves on 35 shots from an aggressive Val-d’Or offensive machine.

“He’s been working hard every day all year,” said Ducharme about Darveau.

“He’s been getting better and better, progressing throughout the season. … He was aggressive with confidence at the same time. He had a solid game.”

The Mooseheads travelled to Val-d’Or down two games in the third-round playoff series, but managed to turn it around with a pair of back-to-back road wins, including a thrilling 6-5 overtime comeback from a 5-1 mid-game deficit.

Game 5 is set to kick off Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Halifax Metro Centre. Eastlink TV will provide live coverage.

Val-d’Or will host Game 6 on Monday and Game 7, if necessary, is scheduled in Halifax on Tuesday.

Organizations: Montreal Canadiens, Halifax Metro Centre

Geographic location: Val, Halifax

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