The Toronto Maple Leafs found a new, crushing way to lose Saturday night.
After two blowout defeats earlier in the week, the Maple Leafs dropped crucial points to the Carolina Hurricanes, who had 42-year-old emergency netminder David Ayres between the pipes for roughly half the contest.
"It's another embarrassing night, right?" Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said postgame.
Ayres, who works as a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies, was forced into the game in the second period after both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek left with injuries. Ayres allowed two early goals but stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period to secure the victory.
The Hurricanes dominated the contest, outshooting Toronto 47-26 and scoring three crucial goals after the stunning goalie changes appeared to swing the momentum in the Maple Leafs' favor.
"When the goalie switch happened, I talked to the team and said, 'If we don't change how we're playing, they don't even need a goalie,'" Keefe said. "There are no chances, no shots, there's nothing happening. They didn't need a goaltender the way the game was going."
Ayres, on the other hand, just tried to take in the moment.
"It was awesome," Ayres told "Hockey Night in Canada" postgame. "Time of my life out there."
He added: "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 has worked with the Maple Leafs as a practice goalie several times in the past and said he was supposed to join the club at its session Sunday, but Toronto is now taking the day off, according to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun.