John Aiken was a 26-year old mathematician working for the U.S. Air Force and living in the Boston area. He was also the standby goalie who attended every game at the Boston Garden in the unlikely case one of the two starting goaltenders was injured and could not continue.
On the night of March 13, 1958, Montreal was in town, and in the second period the Bruins held a slim 1-0 lead when Habs goalie Jacques Plante was injured at the 6:15 mark. Plante was taken to hospital where he was kept for observation for a few days with a concussion. The Habs had two men in the penalty box at the time, and Aiken was summoned from the crowd to replace Plante.
Nervous and overwhelmed, he gave up four goals in his first five minutes before settling down. In the third period, he allowed only one more puck to get by him, but the home team coasted to a 7-3 win.
At the final bell, a number of Habs ruffled his hair and swatted his pads in appreciation of his game effort.