Emergency Backup Goalie Gets Win in His First NHL Game
On the 40th Anniversary of the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid, another miracle on ice (of sorts) took place in Toronto.
David Ayres, a forty-two-year-old Zamboni driver for the AHL's Toronto Marlies, was tapped as the emergency goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday for their NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ayers, who hasn't played in a competitive game in 5 years, and even then it was when he played in low juniors, has been named the emergency backup goalie a couple of times in the last two years, but never got called into the game.
The emergency goalie is usually just a spectator for the game that is in the building in case the two goalies that are on the roster both get hurt. Saturday,
Ayers was enjoying the game with his wife at Scotiabank when the starting goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, James Reimer went down with an injury. At that point, Ayers made his way down to the dressing room just in case, never thinking he would be called into service.
As he was getting dressed, thinking he would just sit on the bench,, the backup goalie, Petr Mrazek, got hurt and had to leave the game as well. That was midway through the second period. That's when Ayers was told to get out on the ice.
When he first entered the game, the Hurricanes were up three goals to one. The Hurricanes would score again shortly after Ayers took the ice to make it 4 to 1.
Ayres gave up two goals on the first two shots he faced. On the first goal he surrendered, he was screened, and the other one, I don't think would have been stopped by any goaltender in the NHL. He simply had no chance on that third Toronto goal.
According to ESPN, the players on the Hurricanes told Ayers not to worry about how many goals he surrendered, just to have fun because this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only did he settle down after that, he shut out the high-power Toronto Maple Leafs the rest of the way.
The Hurricanes would score two more times to win the game 6 to 3. The fans in Toronto cheered as Ayers made saves against their beloved Maple Leafs.
Ayres went on to be recognized as one of the stars of the game. According to ESPN he gets to keep his jersey any gets paid $500 for his effort.