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42-year-old emergency goalie earns win for Carolina vs. Maple Leafs

Nino Niederreiter #21 and Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes talk with emergency backup goaltender Dave Ayres #90 during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Arena on February 22, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

When both of an NHL team’s goaltenders get injured, that’s usually pretty grim news.

But for the Carolina Hurricanes, at least in the very short term, everything turned out OK. After goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured for Carolina, the visiting Hurricanes had to call upon the emergency backup goalie (EBUG) in the building, 42-year-old Zamboni driver David Ayres.

It was only the second period, and the Maple Leafs were down 4-1.

Ayres gave up goals on each of the first two shots he faced, but saved eight more after that as the ‘Canes went on to beat Toronto, 6-3. Ayres got the win and was named one of the game’s ceremonial three stars.

According to NHL public relations, Ayres became the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his league debut. Ayres was 42 years, 194 days old as of Saturday night.

Because Ayres regularly works for the Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was wearing a Toronto Marlies helmet while beating the Maple Leafs.

In the long run, losing two goalies to injury isn’t all fun and games. According to The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus, the Hurricanes reached out to the Blackhawks to inquire about a trade for goaltender Robin Lehner while the game was still going on. It should also be noted that Carolina lost defenseman Brett Pesce to injury during this same game.

Still, an EBUG getting a win in an NHL game is something to smile about:


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