Team Canada’s World Junior team will open up their exhibition series tonight in a game against the Czech Republic. The upcoming series of exhibition games against other countries will be Canada’s chance to narrow down their roster ahead of the 2015 World Juniors which will be played on home soil. Between the pipes, Zach Fucale is hoping to be the man to get Canada back to their gold medal winning ways.
Fucale became team Canada’s starting goaltender after Jake Paterson struggled between the pipes. Fucale performed well, but wasn’t quite enough to help Canada to the gold medal. Zach Fucale is up against goaltenders Eric Comrie, Tristan Jarry and Philippe Desrosiers, but is just one of two netminders with World Junior Experience.
“We didn’t win last year, and I look in the mirror and say I have to step it up.”
Like most on Team Canada, Zach Fucale is motivated to re-claim the gold medal and help Canada climb back to the top of the mountain at the World Juniors, a tournament they dominated for years. Back-to-back fourth place finishes are not good enough for the hockey nation of Canada, and Fucale is hoping to change that this year.
"“Nothing is done. I have a lot of things to prove in order to make this team, and I am excited to start this preparation on the road to get to that tournament.” ~ Zach Fucale"
Joining Fucale looking to avenge a fourth place finish are Connor McDavid, Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Drouin. New players hoping to crack a spot on the roster include prospects Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Nick Ritchie, Max Domi, Haydn Fleury and Curtis Lazar.
The biggest challenge for team Canada will be utilizing the players eligible in the tournament. Many of the players who will open the exhibition face with Canada, will be in the NHL by the time the World Juniors roll around and unable to play in the tournament. In the past, this has left a big void for Canada which is very difficult to overcome.
Once again Canada is filled to their eyes with skill, however the past few teams have not been able to match that skill with the teamwork, physicality or speed needed to win the World Juniors. Past teams have focused on selfish play which has led to Canada not medaling at the World Juniors since 2012 and not winning gold since 2009.
The 2015 World Junior Canadian team will have their first test tonight and Zach Fucale hopes to open up his audition with a bang against the Czech Republic. Hockey Canada will have to knock down their 41 man roster to one of 22 before their tournament opens on December the 26th.