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Fucale to start for Canada in WJC quarterfinal

by Mike G. Morreale /

TORONTO -- Canada coach Benoit Groulx said goaltender Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) will start the quarterfinal-round game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship against Denmark at Air Canada Centre on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

While it will be Fucale's third start of the tournament, neither he nor Eric Comrie (Winnipeg Jets) have started consecutive games for Canada, which won all four preliminary-round games.

"I think Zach's been fine and we have confidence in him," Groulx said. "It seems like a rotation but for us it's not. We have a discussion after each game and in our mind there it's not a rotation. There was for the first two games but we wanted to have both goalies in. It's one game at a time and [on Friday] we think Zach is a good fit."

Perhaps it's Fucale's familiarity with one of Denmark's finest offensive performers, Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets), who has one goal and four points in four games. Fucale and Ehlers have been teammates on the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League the past two seasons.

"He's at his best when he skates and he has great hands and a good shot," Fucale said of Ehlers. "The coaches don't need me to tell them that though. You just play the game, get in there and concentrate on what you need to do."

Fucale has two wins, a 0.50 goals-against average and a .975 save percentage. Comrie, who made 25 saves in a 5-3 victory against the United States on Wednesday, has two wins, a 1.50 GAA and a .933 save percentage.

"Zach has been through a lot of different experiences and he's a proven winner and knows what it takes to play in pressure games," Groulx said. "He's had some struggles in the past, but he's an experienced goalie and knows how to prepare himself for big games."


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