Published on December 30, 2013
Canada goaltender Zachary Fucale keeps an eye on the action during team practice at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden on Sunday December 29, 2013.
The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn
HALIFAX - Zach Fucale can pinpoint the moment when the pain of defeat hit him hardest.
It didn‚Äôt 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.
‚ÄúIt was as if our game against Finland had just finished,‚ÄĚ said Fucale after Tuesday‚Äôs Mooseheads practice. ‚ÄúIn a matter of hours we had the chance of finishing first but we finished fourth‚Ä¶ that‚Äôs when it really hurt.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs not to suggest that the pain doesn‚Äôt linger. But he‚Äôs channeling it into motivation.
‚ÄúYou 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.
‚ÄúI just have to keep developing, keep working hard. Nothing is given to you. We finished fourth. That‚Äôs the proof. Really, it‚Äôs all about work ethic. We lost. Now I have to work every day like I‚Äôm preparing for that final gold medal.‚ÄĚ
Fucale and Jonathan Drouin, who was among Canada‚Äôs top forwards in Malmo, were back practising with the Mooseheads Tuesday preparing for Wednesday‚Äôs home game against the Charlottetown Islanders.
For the pair, life goes on.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs kind of hard to live with,‚ÄĚ said Drouin. ‚ÄúBut there‚Äôs nothing I can do about it now. We knew if we took our foot off the gas it would cost us, and it did.‚ÄĚ
Drouin refused to see a silver lining.
‚ÄúLosing is losing. It‚Äôs disappointing. But I‚Äôm happy to be back; it‚Äôs a new challenge.
‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt my best performance but I think I played pretty well but for some of our key guys maybe it wasn‚Äôt their best.‚ÄĚ
From now on, the focus is on fighting for top spot in the Q, and ultimately defending their league championship title.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs where I‚Äôm at right now,‚ÄĚ said Fucale. ‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ