The Carolina Hurricanes were forced to use an emergency goaltender after injuries sidelined starter James Reimer and backup Petr Mrazek during the first two periods of Saturday night's game against the host Toronto Maple Leafs.
Forty-two-year-old Dave Ayres, who is a Zamboni operator for the AHL's Toronto Marlies, took over as the Hurricanes' emergency goaltender and wound up getting the win in net, as Carolina won 6-3.
"It was awesome, I had the time of my life out there," Ayres said on the CBC Sports broadcast afterward.
Ayres entered with the Hurricanes leading 3-1, and Teuvo Teravainen pushed it to 4-1 with a goal at 13:17 of the second period. But the Maple Leafs quickly took advantage of the unlikely netminder with two goals on two shots in a span of 1:34, trimming the Hurricanes' lead to 4-3.
Carolina then took control in the third, scoring twice in the first four minutes. Ayres was perfect the rest of the way, making a total of eight saves, including seven in the third period.
"Obviously that second period was a little shaky, but I told the boys in the dressing room once we come out for the third, I'll be settled down and ready to win this one," Ayres said.
Per league rules, Ayres was available to play for either team as a third option in net and was paid $500. He changed into a Hurricanes sweater, but other gear, such as his goalie mask and pads, included Maple Leafs and Marlies logos. He was allowed to keep the Hurricanes jersey.
Reimer was knocked into his own net about three minutes before his exit, which came at 6:10 of the first period, but he initially remained in the game. During the collision, a teammate inadvertently crashed into Reimer's left side near his hip. It was called a lower-body injury.
Mrazek, who replaced Reimer in net, was injured at 11:19 of the second period when Kyle Clifford charged him as the goaltender came way out to the top of the right circle to clear a puck. Clifford was given a minor penalty, and Mrazek left with an upper-body injury after he appeared to have his head hit.
Ayres' surprise appearance conjured memories of another emergency goaltender, Scott Foster, a full-time accountant who stepped in to play for the Chicago Blackhawks on March 29, 2018. Foster, then 36 years old, stopped all seven shots he faced against the Winnipeg Jets.
--Field Level Media