Wild goaltending prospect Adam Vay showed off his hidden talent with a knockout punch this week in the ECHL.
Vay, the Quad City goalie who enjoys practicing mixed martial arts in his spare time, fought Cincinnati goaltender Michael Houser at center ice on Wednesday night. The two goalies circled each other before Vay landed his first punch with a left hook into Houser’s face.
Houser immediately went down and appeared dazed. Vay put their differences aside and helped his opponent up.
Houser was Vay’s second target during the brawl that started after Cincinnati forward Brandon McNally put a hard hit on Quad City defenseman Andrew Panzarella attempting to clear the puck from behind the net. Vay didn’t like the hit and tackled McNally from behind, igniting the scuffle.
Panzarella stepped in and began punching McNally while the officials tried to calm Vay down. He managed to separate himself enough to skate up the ice and fight Houser.
Vay received 19 minutes of penalties, including a game misconduct that ended his night early. Cincinnati won the game 3-2.
Quad City coach Terry Ruskowski told the Quad City Times, “It got a little spirited. I'd think frustration was probably building up and one thing led to another. Somebody hit our defenseman hard behind the net and Vay just went after him. I don't like the situation but you have to have some sort of spirit or jump and everybody is flat right now.”
Vay was introduced to MMA by his father, an ex-SWAT officer. He said the sport helps him relieve stress away from hockey. The 22-year-old from Hungary is in his first year of professional hockey and participated in the Wild’s developmental camp last summer. He has a .883 save percentage and a 3.33 goals-against average in 18 games this season.
“I really love fighting but I’m not thinking about killing this guy or beating [him up]," Vay told the Quad City Times. "I’m 100 percent focused on the puck and the fight is not my business on the ice."
Former Gophers forward Seth Ambroz scored a goal on Vay just minutes before the fighting began. Ambroz has three goals and three assists in 20 games this season.
Watch the below highlights to see Vay’s knockout blow. The action starts with Ambroz’s goal 50 seconds into the video and then transitions into the fight.