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Thunder Bay goaltender Fanti scores empty net goal

Fort Wayne Komets netminder became the 15th goaltender in ECHL history to score a goal, the second this season.
Fort Wayne Komets goaltender Ryan Fanti, who hails from Thunder Bay, scored a goal on Saturday, March 25, 2023 against the Rapid City Rush. He's the 15th goaltender in ECHL history to score. (Fort Wayne Komets)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Ryan Fanti completed a modified Gordie Howe hat trick, finishing off the rare feat for a goaltender by scoring a goal on Saturday night.

Fanti, who plays for the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, became the first goaltender in the team’s 71-year history to put the puck in the opposition net, sending it the length of the ice and into the empty Rapid City Rush net.

"You don’t really get too many opportunities. It’s probably something I’ve dreamed about more than anything, including a fight or whatever it is, making big saves," Fanti told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

The Thunder Bay goaltender, signed by the Edmonton Oilers last year, earlier this season collected an assist and earlier this month got into a fight against Wheeling goaltender Brad Barone. A Gordie Howe hat trick, named after the late NHL hall of famer, traditionally means a player earns a goal, and assist and gets into a fight in the same game.

Fanti, with the Komets up 5-3, grabbed the puck behind his own goal line at the side of his net and flicked it down the ice, the Rush players pressing down two goals with less than two minutes to play. He was mobbed by teammates before doing a victory lap around the ice.

The 23-year-old is 12-13-0 with a 3.44 goals against average in 29 appearances with Fort Wayne this season, his first full pro campaign.

Fanti is the 15th goaltender in ECHL history to score a goal, the first since Maine Mariners puck-stopper Francois Brassard turned the trick last December.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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