Why, yes, they can! It takes skill to score any goal, but not many people can score from 180 feet down the ice! It may not happen very often, but when a goalie does score it’s really something to celebrate.
Obviously, goaltenders don’t have many opportunities to score. They have a pretty limited area of play when they stay in their crease. Even when they cut the angle to keep the puck from getting into the net (as is their job!) they usually don’t stray too far from the goal. Even then, they have to get the puck past all the bodies on the ice.
Every once in a while, the opportunity presents itself for a goaltender to score. It usually happens when the other team goes empty net. Of course, that means the goalie has to get the puck past an extra skater on the ice. Other times, the goaltender may be awarded the goal as the last player to touch the puck. Here are some memorable goals scored by goaltenders.
On November 28, 1979, Billy Smith of the New York Islanders became the first goaltender awarded an NHL goal. In a game against the Colorado Rockies, the puck deflected off Smith’s chest protector and into the corner. Colorado rookie, Rob Ramage, picked it up and sent it on a blind pass and right into his own net. Billy Smith got credit for the goal.
On December 8, 1987, Ron Hextall, playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, scored the first goal actually shot by a goaltender. Boston had pulled their goalie late in the third. Hextall shot the puck and landed this NHL first with just a few seconds left in the game.
Of the 11 NHL goaltenders who have scored a goal, Marty Brodeur sets the record. Not only did Brodeur score three goals in his career, he is also the only NHL goaltender to score a goal in a playoff game. It happened against the Montreal Canadiens on April 17, 1997.
Scoring isn’t limited to NHL goaltenders. Check out this fabulous goal scored by Cornell men’s goalie, Mitch Gillam. With 8.6 seconds left in the game against Niagara on November 26, 2013, Gillam pushes the puck down the ice for a 4-2 win. The point was the first for the freshman goaltender.
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