Kaden Fulcher gained a lot from his second season in the Ontario Hockey League, a campaign which featured it’s fair share of high’s and low’s for the Brigden native and his Hamilton Bulldogs.
In 43 games with the Bulldogs, Fulcher posted a 19-17-3-3 record to go along with a 3.21GAA and .891sv%. He also registered the first two shutout of his OHL career.
It was a much busier season for the 18-year-old, who started in just 17 games during his rookie campaign in 2015-2016. Three of those games were with the Sarnia Sting, prior to being traded to Hamilton mid season.
Fulcher says he felt much more comfortable beginning the season in Hamilton, rather than joining the team midway through. He felt like he played better than his numbers indicated.
“I really got better as the season went on, it didn’t always translate on the ice, but just the experience I gained down the stretch and at the end of the season will definitely help going into next year.”
Fulcher’s season got off to a great start, posting a shutout in his first game and winning seven of his first eight starts. The Bulldogs, along with Fulcher, struggled to find consistency after that. The team went through a tough stretch in late November and early December where they lost 10 of 12 games.
He says he learned a lot battling through some of those midseason struggles.
“You almost have to take a step back, the more you’re in a rut the more you want to get out on the ice and hammer it out and let the pucks hit you,” says Fulcher. “I think the best thing to do is take a step back, look at what’s going on and calm your game down, sometimes you can get a little overactive in net and you just need to settle things down and simplify the game.”
Hamilton acquired overage goalie Dawson Carty from Kitchener at the trade deadline, Fulcher says he was able to learn a lot from Carty’s experience. Carty, in his fourth and final season in the OHL, started the majority of Hamilton’s games down the stretch.
Fulcher says even when you’re not in net, you need to do what you can to help the team.
“You have be ready every night, even when you’re on the bench, you want to make sure you have some good vibes going on and make sure you don’t bring it into the dressing room when you’re not starting. It’s important to be a supportive teammate when you’re on the bench and wait for your opportunity.”
Back home in Brigden for the summer, Fulcher’s focus now shifts to weight room.
“I’m usually in the gym a bit more during the summer, on the ice about two or three times a week but I hope to get to the gym basically every day, which is nice because you can’t get to the gym as much during the season because it’s such a grind,” says the former Lambton Jr Sting standout. “I’ll work on some forearm stuff, to help improve my puck handling, and you can never have too strong of a lower body as a goalie, so I’ll be working on that at the gym as well.”
Having a late birthday in 1998, Fulcher is eligible for the 2017 NHL draft, he’s ranked 18th among North American Goalies by NHL Central Scouting.