There are always the memorable game because of individual performances, but they don’t often come from 42-year-old Zamboni drivers.
With both starter James Reimer and backup Petr Mrazek leaving Saturday’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Carolina Hurricanes called upon emergency backup David Ayres to ride out the rest of the game for them.
What they didn’t know, is that Ayres would make eight saves on 10 shots and earn the win.
"It was awesome. Time of my life out there."— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 23, 2020
After coming in as the emergency goalie for the @Canes, David Ayres spoke with @SNkylebukauskas about picking up his first @NHL win. pic.twitter.com/pNaxv6z880
Exhausted from playing in his first ever NHL game, Ayres appeared grateful and honoured to be a part of the victory.
“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 post-game.
He certainly did.
After getting thrust into the game, the emergency backup allowed two goals in quick succession to the Leafs and appeared to have been toast. Fortunately, the Hurricanes locked in on defence and kept shots on goal to a minimum for the 42-year-old.
“It was awesome, it was the time of my life out there. I’ve been on this ice many times without fans, but put fans in the mix and it’s a whole different game,” Ayres said.
“Once in a lifetime, I’ll take it.”
The Hurricanes celebrated in their locker room like it was.
A memory we'll all have forever pic.twitter.com/LUxqs8o3Wr— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 23, 2020
Filled with congratulatory pats and head coach Rod Brind’Amour giving his big speech after the declarative win, Ayres was really Carolina’s hero on Saturday.
Carolina is also selling t-shirts of the now-immortal legend.
The Hurricanes might have something planned for Ayres when they face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and he deserves it.
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