Mzitro gives a third-string college goaltender the experience of his life

Edmonton – wearing Cam TalbotNo. 33, Matt Berlin took to the ice and looked nothing like before oilers Goalkeeper star.

His green pads with gold trim couldn’t have clashed with the Oilers’ navy blue, orange, and white reverse jersey. The mismatched color scheme and mask made the University of Alberta Berlin stand out like a sore thumb.

None of that mattered because the jersey Berlin was wearing featured his name stitched across the back.

In the last 2:26 of a 7-3 blowout win ChicagoBerlin was NHL Goalkeeper.

“The whole day was a whirlwind, but the finish up to the day was amazing,” said the 25-year-old. “It was a special moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.”

Berlin has featured in the Oilers’ bizarre practice in recent years when the average internet watcher is absent. He was also Edmonton’s emergency backup goaltender in the playoff run last season.

So, he thought little of the text he received from the Oilers’ communications director, Sean May, telling him to come to the rink with his gear for the game. Other than the minor inconvenience of having to put aside his psychological studies in the middle of term on a Monday, Berlin was eager to help.

He thought it would be just another game to sit in the stands and be the only man on the spot.

Instead, May sent him back, about three and a half hours before he was due to drop the disc, to let him know there was more to it than that. because of illness Stuart SkinnerBerlin needs it Jack CampbellTemporary backup.

“I was sitting there doing my homework and my heart rate was going up,” Berlin said.

Berlin signed an amateur tryout contract at the rink. The plan was for him to sit on the bench and watch Connor McDavid Go around the ice. With the Oilers comfortably in the future, those plans changed.

In one night, Berlin went from U of A Third-stringer to Edmonton Oiler who will be named in the Guide and Record Book in the fall.

“It was not intended for any purpose other than to give a young man a life experience he will never forget,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.

It was McDavid’s idea to get Berlin active in the game.

McDavid and Woodcroft spoke off the bench just after the middle of the third period. Other players and goalkeeper coach Dustin Schwartz were also consulted.

With the Oilers up 7-2, the coach was sold on the field and didn’t even hesitate when it came to Chicago Taylor Radish He scored at 14:47 to close a five-goal advantage to four.

Campbell told in another televised timeout with less than five minutes to play in the match. Woodcroft said Campbell was pleased to give the Edmonton native—a junior hockey teammate of Skinner’s no less—a chance to play.

Berlin was then informed that he would enter after play was stopped.

“I thought they were joking,” he said. “I thought they were joking.

After three minutes, get ready to go, Woodcroft said. First whistle after the three-minute mark, you’re in. “

Berlin took a few steps back behind his place on the bench and into the hall leading to the Oilers’ dressing room. He did a few stretches to warm up and took a few deep breaths. This is when his heart started beating again.

“It was about four minutes after he told me,” Berlin said.

The Oilers wanted to make sure that what they were doing was delicious and a little disrespectful to their opponents, a league basement dweller.

“We were just trying to give a great moment to someone who was here,” McDavid said. He lived his dream of playing in the NHL.

“It’s good to see a moment like this.”

It took Campbell off a Max Domi He fired and the puck froze to whistle for Berlin to get their chance.

Once the referee raised his hand to signal line changes, Woodcroft gave him the go-ahead. Berlin raced to the ice for the final two minutes.

“Once I got there, I drank water and everything was fine,” he said.

Berlin took a shot at Euler’s ex Caleb Jones-Getting a perfect 1-on-1 on shots faced compared to ones deflected. The crowd went wild as he easily turned the ball sideways.

“It might be the most memorable save I’ve ever made in my career,” he gleefully said. “It was very special.”

“He handled it great,” he said Darnell Nurse He said. “He made the save. It was great to see him.”

Berlin probably won’t play another NHL game. If this is true, he will always have 1,000 percent of the savings.

“He’s a little kid. You never know what his way can do,” McDavid said. “Maybe one day we’ll see him in the league. Today, he plays in the NHL. This is something he can hang his hat on for a while.”

Oilers winger and former teammate with WHL Spokane Kyler Yamamoto He did not play in the match due to injury. However, he was in the dressing room in his suit and tie and sat in the booth next to Berlin – which was using Stewart’s usual domain – after the media dispersed.

As the two chatted, Yamamoto’s smile was as wide as Berlin’s. Almost.

“He’s a great guy,” Yamamoto said.

Berlin’s contract at amateur level meant he could not be paid. He could not sign a professional demo for $500 because he had never played professional hockey. But the memories he will cherish forever are worth more than a few hundred dollars.

“It was a special moment,” said the nurse. “I hope he enjoyed it all.”

There is no doubt that Berlin was over the moon.

He did an interview after the “Hockey Night in Canada” game with Scott Oake and famously kept the towel. He is awarded the team motorcycle jacket, which is awarded to the player who brings in the juice. And he was to wear a new Oilers jersey with his name on it.

“I am sure he will carry this memory with him for the rest of his life,” said Woodcroft. “He will be in the record books because he played in the National Hockey League.”

(Top photo of Oilers emergency backup goaltender Matt Berlin: Perry Nelson/USA Today)

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