The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday that goaltender Zach Fucale has been re-assigned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears, signaling that Vitek Vanecek (who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury) is healthy enough to at least back-up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
The 27-year-old goaltender made 21 saves in his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, when he became the first Capitals goaltender to earn a shutout in his first game.
Fucale is 3-0-2 with Hershey this season with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. The 6’2″, 189-pound goaltender is tied for second in the AHL in goals-against average among goaltenders with at least five games played.
During the 2020-21 season, the Laval, Quebec, native led the AHL in goals-against average (1.80) and ranked second in save percentage (.932), establishing career highs in both categories. Fucale played 11 games with Hershey, the most games he has played at the AHL level since the 2017-18 season, posting a 9-2-0-1 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.