Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
Sunday, 25 September 2005 saw PEI Rocket rookie goaltender, Antoine Lafleur, playing in his first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game, become the first goalie in the league’s history to score a goal.
Late in the second period, Rane Carnegie of the Halifax Mooseheads took the puck in the Rocket corner after Lafleur had cleared the puck there and tried to pass it back to a defenseman. His teammate had jumped into the play, leaving the position at the blue line vacant and the puck slid the length of the ice, past the Mooseheads goalie who was leaving his net for the extra attacker as a delayed penalty was being called against the Rocket and into the Mooseheads goal. Since Lafleur was the last Rocket player to have touched the puck, rules dictate that he be credited with the goal.
The historic marker put the Rocket ahead 3-2 and they never looked back, going on to win the game 4-3 in front of almost 6,400 fans in Halifax.
There have been a number of markers scored by goaltenders in the National Hockey League, with Islanders goalie, Billy Smith, being credited with the first such goal in 1979. His goal was scored in much the same manner as Lafleur’s. The first goaltender to actually shoot a puck at an opponent’s net with the intention of scoring was the Philadelphia Flyers Ron Hextall in 1987. Hextall revolutionized the position with his puck handling skills.