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Ducks place call on emergency goaltender

April 05, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was ruled out of Friday's game against the Dallas Stars.
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was ruled out of Friday's game against the… (Paul Beaty / Associated…)

The Ducks for the second time this season had to summon an emergency backup goaltender to their bench after Jonas Hiller was ruled out of Friday night’s game at the Honda Center versus the Dallas Stars.

The replacement, Rob Laurie of Corona, has a distant connection to the arena’s history, given that he was the starting goaltender for the inline hockey Anaheim Bullfrogs on July 2, 1993, in the first professional sporting event at the arena.

Laurie, 42, who proceeded to lead the Bullfrogs to the International League championship in 1993 while earning playoff most-valuable-player recognition, was expected to have a very short stint as the Ducks’ backup goalie to Friday night starter Viktor Fasth.

Minor league goaltender Igor Bobkov arrived in Orange County minutes before Friday’s 7 p.m. face-off time, and was en route to the arena to replace Laurie on the bench, according to a club spokesman.

Because Bobkov had to board a cross-country flight from Norfolk, Va., earlier Friday, the Ducks felt it was necessary to sign Laurie to a one-day professional tryout contract.

Bobkov arrived early in the first period, tightening the laces of his gloves and smiling at his new teammates amused by his rushed appearance.

The situation also happened March 12 when the Ducks were visiting Minnesota.

Then, the team summoned goaltender Zach Sikich for only a few minutes. Fasth sustained an upper-body injury during the morning skate, thrusting Hiller into the starting role and leaving the Ducks scrambling for a backup.

They recalled since-traded Jeff Deslauriers from the minors but weren't sure Deslauriers would arrive at Xcel Energy Center on time.

That led David McNab, the club's senior vice president of hockey operations, to call Sikich, who had served as a practice target for the Ducks last season in Minnesota.

Sikich, a 32-year-old native of Eveleth, Minn., is a former Division III goalie who last played in the 2007-08 season before retiring to run the Pro Hybrid Training system and instructional camps for goalies. He signed a one-day pro tryout for $500 and the right to keep his game jersey.

Sikich participated in the warmups wearing his distinctive light-blue pads and sat on the bench for the first few minutes of the game, yielding his seat when Deslauriers arrived.

Sikich was back in street clothes by the time Hiller made the last of his 30 saves and Luca Sbisa blasted home the rebound of a shot by Teemu Selanne for the winner with 3:04 left in the third period, but it was a night Sikich won't forget.

Times Staff Writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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