Fucale, Drouin back in Halifax and focused on moving on with Mooseheads

Andrew Rankin
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HALIFAX - Zach Fucale can pinpoint the moment when the pain of defeat hit him hardest.

It didn’t come after the 18-year-old netminder and Team Canada fell to the Russians in the world junior bronze medal game earlier this month.

The anguish rushed in hours later when Finland, the team that beat Canada in the semifinals the day before, edged tournament host Sweden to win gold.

“It was as if our game against Finland had just finished,” said Fucale after Tuesday’s Mooseheads practice. “In a matter of hours we had the chance of finishing first but we finished fourth… that’s when it really hurt.”

But the Halifax Mooseheads netminder, a second round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, who is a projected No.1 NHL goalie, is moving on.

That’s not to suggest that the pain doesn’t linger. But he’s channeling it into motivation.

“You have to remember the bitterness of losing and you have to work at not feeling that again. It was a great experience to play on such a grand stage. It can only help me moving forward in my career, and season.

“I just have to keep developing, keep working hard. Nothing is given to you. We finished fourth. That’s the proof. Really, it’s all about work ethic. We lost. Now I have to work every day like I’m preparing for that final gold medal.”

Fucale and Jonathan Drouin, who was among Canada’s top forwards in Malmo, were back practising with the Mooseheads Tuesday preparing for Wednesday’s home game against the Charlottetown Islanders.

For the pair, life goes on.

“It’s kind of hard to live with,” said Drouin. “But there’s nothing I can do about it now. We knew if we took our foot off the gas it would cost us, and it did.”

Drouin refused to see a silver lining.

“Losing is losing. It’s disappointing.  But I’m happy to be back; it’s a new challenge.

“It wasn’t my best performance but I think I played pretty well but for some of our key guys maybe it wasn’t their best.”

From now on, the focus is on fighting for top spot in the Q, and ultimately defending their league championship title.

“That’s where I’m at right now,” said Fucale. “The playoffs are something we want to be prepared for. There are 24 games to work and to prepare for. When we get there we have to be in tip top shape.”

Organizations: Team Canada, Montreal Canadiens, NHL

Geographic location: Finland, Canada, Sweden Malmo

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