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‘Yotes Notes: Emergency Goalie Races to Arena to Replace Injured Lindback

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE — Backup goalie Anders Lindback suffered an off-ice, pre-game, lower-body injury late Monday afternoon, and the Coyotes responded by signing Valley-based emergency goalie Nathan Schoenfeld to an amateur tryout agreement just minutes before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Gila River Arena started.

After the game, Head Coach Dave Tippett said Lindback’s injury likely would be long-term.

“Unfortunately for 'Lindy' the injury doesn’t look good,” Tippett said. “We will get more tests tomorrow, but I think it is a very serious injury, so we will see where it gets to from there.”

The Coyotes are expected to recall goalie Niklas Treutle from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

Schoenfeld, 31, is the son of former Coyotes Head Coach Jim Schoenfeld and the son-in-law of Coyotes Head Equipment Manager Stan Wilson. He’s a banker who lives in Scottsdale and he skates with the Coyotes alumni team from time to time. He said he was bathing his five-week-old twin boys about an hour before Monday’s game when Wilson texted him and told him to come to Glendale as soon as possible, which he did within about 30 minutes.

“There was a little bit of zigzagging (on the Loop 101),” Schoenfeld said. “The traffic was pretty good. Luckily I didn't have to break any laws to get here in time.”

After arriving at the arena, Schoenfeld signed the amateur tryout agreement while getting dressed. He then skated just a few laps with teammates before taking a seat on the north end of the bench.

Schoenfeld wore sweater No. 40 but did not play as Louis Domingue, who grew up in a suburb of Montreal, stopped 17 of 19 shots he faced in a 6-2 win.

“We played just a great game,” Domingue said. “It made it easy on me. Sometimes it’s harder when you don’t get a lot of shots, to stay focused, but the offensive support was there tonight. We just played a solid game.”

Although he didn’t play, Coyotes players awarded Schoenfeld the Game MVP belt.

“That was great,” Schoenfeld said. “It just shows how great this locker room is... It was a special night.”

Per NHL rule, every team has a list of emergency goalies in their market.

Schoenfeld played club hockey at Arizona State University as a collegian about a decade ago. After the game, he was asked if he wanted the night to end.

“No,” he said. “I was just going to keep my jersey on and stay here as long as I could, but I think eventually I'll have to go home.”

Tippett said it was fun to watch Schoenfeld enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“He’s not a stranger,” Tippett said. “He has been around. In the summer he skates with the guys at the Ice Den, so it’s not that much different. But you can see there’s a little kid in him that’s coming out; he’s got a smile on his face as the action is going. I was trying to hear if he was yelling at the other players or chirping anybody, but he was pretty quiet out there.”

The Coyotes also needed an emergency backup goalie on Dec. 17, 2010, when they played the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. That time they turned to Tom Fenton, who backed up then Coyotes backup goalie Jason LaBarbera after then starter Ilya Bryzgalov came down with the flu.

• The six goals scored by the Coyotes on Monday are the most scored by the team in a game this season. Thirteen Coyotes notched at least one point. The last time Arizona scored six goals in a game before Monday was Jan. 3, 2015 – a 6-3 win over Columbus.

• With the win, the Coyotes swept a season series from Montreal for the first time in franchise history.

• With a goal and two assists on Monday, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied his career high for points in a season with 44, which he set in 80 games in 2013-14. Ekman-Larsson has notched five 3-plus point games this season, which rank second among NHL defensemen.

• Center Martin Hanzal scored his ninth goal of the season at 4:47 of the first period. It was his third goal in the past four games.

“Everybody knows where we are in the standings,” Hanzal said. “We were ready from the beginning and that was the key tonight.”

• Defenseman Kevin Connauton scored a nifty goal at 15:38 of the second period, his second goal of the season and his first since the Coyotes picked him up on waivers on Jan. 13.

• Defenseman Jarred Tinordi played 12:29 in his first game against Montreal since the Canadiens traded him to the Coyotes last month. Tinordi delivered three hits and blocked a shot vs. Montreal, which selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

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