Pavel Michalek is a scoring forward for HK Krnov, a third-tier Czech league team. Well, usually he is, anyway.
Against SK Kravina on Saturday, Michalek played goalie – not because he wanted to, but because he had to, or else his team would have faced league sanctions. And he did so without wearing any protective goaltending gear, save for a mask, a blocker and a mitt.
Luckily, his opponents took it easy on him, understanding this extraordinarily odd situation and already having an 8-3 advantage late in the game, when Michalek went between the pipes. Watch the surreal comedy that followed:
Here’s how this weird scene came to happen:
Krnov opened the game with goalie Roman Šlupina, but he was ejected in the first period after dropping his gloves and attempting to get involved in an altercation between the teams.
Backup goalie Antonín Mužík entered the game and played into the third period, with Kravina eventually going up 8-3 on his team.
Moments after that eighth goal, Mužík engaged in a skirmish with that goal’s scorer, which led to his ejection from the game by the referees. So in the 49th minute of the match, Krnov was left without a goaltender available.
Their first, natural thought down five goals: Pack up and go home, forfeiting what was a certain loss anyway. But the game officials said that the team would be hit with significant fines if it did not complete the game, to the point where it became obvious they’d be better off finding an alternative in goal.
Enter Michalek, a 32-year-old veteran, who was tasked with finishing the match for his team. He donned a goalie mask, catching mitt, blocker and stick; for some reason, he wasn’t permitted to have any of the goalies’ protective gear.
With a five-goal lead and their opponents ready to forfeit anyway, SK Kravina did the humane thing and lobbed easy shots on goal against the skater-turned-netminder. The crowd mockingly cheered each save, including a shot from the opposing goaltender than slid in on Michalek.
He pitched a shutout, such as it was, in the game’s final 11 minutes.
Michalek called this situation “a comedy,” especially in that the game officials wouldn’t let him gear up like a normal goalie.
When his opponents began taking lazy shots against him? “Then it was really a comedy,” he told blesk.cz.
But hey, his team saved a few bucks in league fines...