Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres picks up win over Maple Leafs after James Reimer, Petr Mrazek injuries

Injuries to both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek forced the Carolina Hurricanes to bring on emergency goaltender David Ayres in the second period of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple leafs. Reimer was hit with an injury late in the first period, and Mrazek was injured after Kyle Clifford decked him while going for a loose puck. Clifford was given a charging penalty on the play.

Here’s the moment that Ayres was brought on for his surprise duties.

Ayres stopped eight of the 10 shots he faced in helping the Canes to a 6-3 win in Toronto. He told Sportsnet in Canada after the game that the experience was awesome, “Obviously the time of my life out there … once in a lifetime, i’ll take it.”

According to the Hurricanes, Ayres last served as an emergency backup goalie on Feb. 1 for the team’s AHL minor league affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, against the Toronto Marlies — the team Ayres works for as a Zamboni driver, per’s Mike Zeisberger.

Unfortunately for Carolina, Ayers’s professional debut got off to a less-than-ideal start after he gave up two goals to allow the Maple Leafs to cut into a three-goal deficit and make the game 4-3. The good news, however, is that eventually his efforts officially made an NHL stat sheet, with his first save coming after those two goals were allowed.

“It’s been great,” Ayres told Sportsnet after the game when talking about his debut and he went on to talk about allowing the two goals before getting in a groove. “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.”

In that dressing room after the game, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour congratulated the team and Ayres, and talked about the special night. “It’s not often in a game you get tied to a great memory,” Brind’Amour said. “You’ll see when you’re done, all  you’ll have is the memories you’ve got.  

Whether or not Ayres gets paid for this depends on the kind of deal he gets after the fact. If the Hurricanes sign him to an amateur tryout agreement, he gets, as legendary Blackhawks EBUG Scott Foster once said, “Just beer league glory.” If he gets a Professional Try-Out Agreement, he gets $500, is allowed to keep the jersey with his name on it and is given the chance to try out for the team, per the CBA.

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