CHICAGO (AP) Scott Foster thought it would only be one more night. Then the 36-year-old accountant signed a contract, put on his goalkeeper gear, and waited in Chicago's dressing room. Then he came into play.
Then it was his night.
Foster was pushed into action as Chicago Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia lost to injuries, and the former University goalkeeper stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 14 minutes in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the playoffs tied Winnipeg jets on Thursday.
"That's something nobody can take away from me," said Foster. "I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends … just a ton of fun."
Foster is part of a crew of recreational goalkeepers who take over emergency home games for each team in Chicago , But it usually means just having a nice dinner and a night in the press box as the best players in the world compete at the highest level of hockey.
Nothing like that.
"What a moment," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville A Smile.
Forsberg was expected to start, but he was injured during a "pregame ritual," according to Quennville. Delia, who was recalled by the minors on Wednesday, then stopped 25 of 27 shots on his NHL debut before being released from the ice at 1
Enter Foster, a married father of two, lives in nearby Oak Park and plays in two clubs. After a brief warm-up, the game resumed and Foster was greeted with cheers by the 21,839 crowd, banning Tyler Myers after his first minute about a minute after being substituted.
"The first shock came when I had to get dressed, I think you just condemn after that," Foster said.
Supported by "Foster! Foster!" And loud ovation he made another stop on Myers and turned in the last minutes of Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien. When it was over, the Blackhawks poured on the ice and hissed Foster into the net.
"He was great," said defender Brent Seabrook. "I think the guys went out of their way to help him, he did a couple of big saves and a fun night."
The Jets had won six straight and tried to gain home advantage for the first round of the playoffs. But they too were moved by what happened.
"It's hard for anyone to get into a hockey game in 50 minutes, let alone one who has not played in the (NHL)," said coach Paul Maurice. "A great moment for him."
Carolina Hurricanes' Equipment Manager, Jorge Alves, became the first steward to play in a game in the modern era last season. He closed the last 7.6 seconds of a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
The NHL adjusted their rules last summer to determine that teams have an emergency goalkeeper for all home games ready to fill in for both teams stage for Foster's most successful action since 20 minutes of relief with Western Michigan University in the season 2005-06.
"A few hours ago, I was sitting on the computer, typing on a numeric keypad, and now I'm in front of you, just finishing 14 1/2 minutes of NHL hockey," he cracked.
It was a wild ending to one of Chicago's finest performances in a lousy season.
Tomas Jurco scored a career-high two goals in Seabrook's 1000th game of the regular season, and touted prospect Dylan Sikura had two assists in his NHL debut. Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and defender Erik Gustafsson each had a goal and an assist. Brandon Saad also scored.
32-year-old Seabrook started with his team-mate Duncan Keith. He became the fifth player in the franchise history to skate in 1,000 or more games for the team, joining Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Eric Nesterenko and Bob Murray.
Bryan Little scored his 200th NHL goal for Winnipeg in the opening game of a four-game tour. Mark Scheifele also scored for the jets, and Eric Comrie scored 36 saves while starring for starter Connor Hellebuyck.
"It was not a good night," said Little. "It was not good right from the start, it's one of those games that you forget and leave behind and look to the next one."
Kane got Chicago off to a fast start when he was between Comrie's legs for his 27th. Goal 3:44 in the first goal shot. and the Blackhawks just infused it from there. Saad made it 2-0 with a tricky header after 17:17 in front.
Jurco added two goals in the second minute before Little Winnipeg scored his 16th goal of the season at 14:24. But Gustafsson reacted for the Blackhawks and scored in a nice rush at 17:27.
NOTES: Quenneville said Delia would travel to Colorado with the crew and should be okay for the Friday night's game against the Avalanche. With four games left in the season, he said that Forsberg (lower body) is probably ready for the year. Jean-Francois Berube was recalled in an emergency by Rockford from the AHL.
Jets: Visit Toronto on Saturday night.
Blackhawks: Visit Colorado on Friday night.
Jay Cohen can be found at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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