Days before the start of round one of the 2022 playoffs, the Washington Capitals have brought goaltender Zach Fucale back to their roster. Fucale made four appearances with the Capitals during the regular season, amassing a 1-1-1 record with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
Fucale has been with Hershey in the AHL since making a January 10 appearance for the Caps against the Boston Bruins. He is 11-15-5 in the AHL this year with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage.
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 1, 2022
Earlier in the season, the Canadian netminder set the NHL record for the longest shutout streak to start an NHL career after posting a clean sheet in his NHL debut and continuing that streak through two other games. In March, he followed that up by becoming the first goalie in the Hershey Bears’ 84-year history to record three straight shutout wins.
In early February, Fucale became a father for the first time as he announced the birth of his son Teo.
Fucale’s recall comes at a time when the Caps’ goaltending situation is still somehow up in the air. Both Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek did little to nothing to separate themselves in terms of grabbing the true number one role down the stretch. In April, Samsonov was 4-3-1 with a 3.35 goals-against average and a .884 save percentage while Vanecek finished the month 3-2-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage.
Even with that, it’s not likely that Fucale will see any time in net in this year’s playoffs. His recall appears to be purely in case of emergency depth-related as a “black ace”. Pheonix Copley will hold down the fort in Hershey for their playoff run.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Zach Fucale from Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled goaltender Zach Fucale from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Fucale, 26, posted a record of 1-1-1 with one shutout, a 1.75 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in four games for the Capitals this season. The 6’2″, 189-pound goaltender became the first goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout in his NHL debut when he stopped all 21 shots against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 11 at Little Caesars Arena.
In his second career NHL start on Jan. 8 against the Minnesota Wild, the Laval, Quebec, native broke a Washington franchise record for the longest shutout streak by a goaltender from the start of a tenure with the franchise in the first period, besting Cristobal Huet’s mark of 80:36. In the second period, he broke the NHL record for the longest career-opening shutout sequence. Fucale’s streak ended at 138 minutes and 17 seconds, beating Matt Hackett’s (Minnesota) mark of 102:48 set in 2011.
In 31 games with the Bears this season, Fucale posted a record of 11-15-5 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage.
During the 2020-21 season, Fucale led the AHL in goals-against average (1.80) and ranked second in save percentage (.932), establishing career highs in both categories. Fucale played the most games (11) he has played at the AHL level since the 2017-18 season, posting a 9-2-0 record. Fucale’s nine wins were tied for eighth in the AHL, while his two losses were the fewest among goaltenders with at least 660 minutes played. Fucale and Pheonix Copley received the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, presented to the goaltenders on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season. In 90 career AHL games, Fucale has a 43-36-6 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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