Zamboni driver enters game as Carolina Hurricanes goaltender, beats Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Pierre Engvall (47) scores his team's third goal of the game against Carolina Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres (90) during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

Zamboni driver and emergency goalie David Ayres entered the Carolina Hurricane’s Saturday night matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On Saturday night, the Carolina Hurricanes saw both of their goaltenders suffer injuries. James Reimer and Petr MrĂĄzek exited the matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which left Carolina with just one choice.

The Canes decided to bring in 42-year-old Zamboni driver David Ayres to be their goalie. He entered with a 4-1 lead in the second period and just had to conjure up enough saves to ensure the victory for Carolina…which is exactly what he did.

After initially allowing two goals on two shots, Ayres racked up eight saves en route to a 6-3 win. He was the games’ first star and is now 1-0 as an NHL goaltender.

Ayres works as a Zamboni driver and arena maintenance worker at Coca-Cola Coliseum, home to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He’s additionally a practice goalie for both the Marlies and Maple Leafs.

It’s unclear what Ayres’ immediate future may hold though, especially after this appearance.

“Obviously that second period was a little shaky, but I told the boys in the dressing room that once we come out for the third I’ll be settled down and ready to win this one,” Ayres said after the victory. “I got a bunch of text messages that said to get in there and then someone came in the room and said ‘hey, you better get dressed, you’re going out there.’ I was a little shocked, but I’m loving it.”

All in all, the Canadian played an enormous role in the Hurricanes’ 35th victory of the year. They’re now 35-22-4, sitting in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division.

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