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  • By Don Liesemer

    Many Great Saves
    ... A hockey writer used the term an explosion in a rubber factory to describe what it feels like for a net minder to get riddled with shots. Teams know that a hot goalie making sizzling saves wins games. In the Pittsburgh Penguins/ Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup final series in 2009 Pittsburgh was leading in game 7 with only seconds remaining. In these dying seconds of the game, Detroit had one last chance. They pressed hard. Penguins’ goalie, Marc Andre Fleury stopped Henrik Zetterberg’s blast from the right faceoff circle.  Nicklas Lidstrom picked up the rebound and fired a quick shot hoping to tie the score. Incredibly, Fleury slid across making a great save with one second remaining to win the cup for Pittsburgh against the powerful Detroit Red Wings.


    Another stunning example of great saves was the 1998 Olympic performance by Czech goalie, Dominik Hasek against the always powerful Canadian team. In semi-final shoot-out, Hasek shocked the hockey world by blanking 5 of the top shooters in hockey for the win.  In the gold medal game the all star Czech goalie went on to shut-out the Russians and win the gold medal for the Czech Republic.

    Possibly the most remarkable goalie performance ever was by Normie Smith of the Detroit Red Wings. Amazingly, he made 92 saves against the Montreal Maroons on March 24, 1936 in the longest game in NHL history. It went into 6 overtime periods and took 176:30 minutes to play before Mud Brunetau’s goal at 16:30 of the 6th overtime period. The Maroons had a total of 92 shots at the Detroit net but Normie Smith stopped every one. Summary: 92 shots- 92 saves and the Red Wings win the game!

    The Greatest Saviour...Goalies making outstanding saves are sometimes referred to as saviours.   However, the greatest Saviour of all time is Jesus Christ. His mission in coming to earth was to save lives. Jesus said that He came “to seek and to save that which is lost.”1. Prior to His birth an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary was with child and went on to tell him that he was to name “the child Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.”2. On the night of His birth an angel appeared to shepherds and declared: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord.” 3. The Apostle Paul said that Jesus Christ “came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst” 4

     Why a Saviour?-because, we are sinners and need to be saved. We have all messed up and fallen short of God’s glory.5 God demands perfection to get into heaven. Since we don’t measure up to God’s standard He sent His Son to save us from our sins and make it possible for us to go to heaven.

    The Greatest Save of All Time...The most penalized goalie in NHL history is Ron Hextall. In each of 3 straight seasons in the 1980’s he amassed over 100 penalty minutes. Despite a career total of 584 penalty minutes, Ron never spent a single minute in the penalty box because of a rule unique to the game of hockey...a mercy rule for goalies. The rule states that when a referee calls an infraction on a net minder a player on the ice at the time has to serve the goalie’s penalty. Game after game an innocent teammate has to pay the price by sitting in the penalty box while the guilty goalie is allowed to continue playing. As our teammate in life, Jesus made the greatest save of all time when He paid the penalty for all of the world’s sins by dying on the cross so that we could be forgiven and be saved. We are guilty-He was innocent. He lived a perfect, sinless life but made the supreme sacrifice once for all time, paying the price for our sins. 6. That first Christmas Jesus came to be our Saviour. We can all experience His salvation by confessing our sins and inviting Him to be our Saviour. Notes: 1. Luke 19:10; 2. Matthew 1:21; 3. Luke 2:11; 4.1 Timothy 1:15; 5. Romans 3;23; 6. 1 Peter3:18