Sam LoPresti

Eveleth Minnesota's Sam LoPresti is the answer to an interesting trivia question - which NHL goaltender made the most saves in a 60 minute regular season game? Modern fans may recall Ron Tugnutt then of the Quebec Nordiques facing 73 shots against the Boston Bruins back in the early 1990s, but the answer is Sam LoPresti who had 83 pucks fired his way.

On March 4, 1941 made 80 saves on 83 shots by the Boston Bruins. That's a save percentage of .964! As you might expect when your team surrenders 83 shots in a game, the Chicago Blackhawks lost that game, but by a remarkable score of only 3-2. He stopped 27 shots in the first period, 31 in the second and 22 more in the third. By the way, Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek, who like LoPresti was another product of Eveleth, Minnesota, only had to face 20 shots.

LoPresti had just been called up from minors, replacing Paul Goodman to become Chicago's starting goalie. Lopresti played 1 1/2 seasons with the Hawks. A career record of 30-38-6 with a 3.13 GAA in 74 games, LoPresti also appeared in 8 playoff games, going 3-5 with a 1.92 GAA.

LoPresti left the NHL to serve in World War II at the end of the 1942 season. LoPresti never returned to the NHL, and more importantly almost never returned, period. A member of the US Navy, LoPresti was aboard a US-escorted merchant ship that was torpedoed off the coast of Africa while trying to deliver supplies. LoPresti and 20 crewmates spent 42 days floating in a lifeboat at seas before being rescued by a passing freighter. LoPresti reportedly lost 55 pounds at sea, and he would not get proper medical treatment until the freighter landed in Brazil.

Lopresti never retuned to hockey regularly until the 1949 season when he returned to Eveleth to play as an amateur while also running a tavern.

Inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973, Sam's son Pete also appeared in the NHL as a goaltender. Pete played quite regularly during the late 1970s, appearing in 175 games (43 wins, 102 losses, 20 ties) with Minnesota and Edmonton.


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