Goal gaffes

TED WYMAN

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Ryan O'Byrne, you are not alone.

Those are the best words of encouragement we can provide for the Montreal Canadiens defenceman who recently cost his team a game by scoring into his own empty net.

O'Byrne's gaffe against the New York Islanders was a highlight reel special but it certainly wasn't the first "own goal" in pro sports, nor the most costly.

As you will read in our latest top-10, there have been many pro athletes who became infamous for scoring on their own nets, including some who never lived their mistake down.

10. Chris Brass

The journeyman defender was playing soccer for Bury of the English fourth division in the 2005-2006 season when he suffered a great humiliation while trying to clear a ball out of his team's area in a game against Darlington, F.C. Not only did Brass boot the ball off his own face and into his net, but he also broke his nose to boot. (YouTube)

9. Bryan McCabe

Already a whipping boy for Toronto Maple Leafs fans, McCabe really earned their wrath on Oct. 15, 2007 when he ripped a shot off the post and into his own net in the dying seconds of overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 victory. "Obviously, I wasn't trying to shoot it in my own net," the defenceman said. "The rebound came out. I was just trying to shoot it in the corner. It went off the post and in." The goal was credited to Ales Kotalik of the Sabres.

8. SOE Antananarivo

On Oct. 31, 2002 the Madagascan soccer team scored a world record 149 own goals in a league championship game against AS Adema. SOE, which has won the league title the year before, deliberately scored goal after goal on their own net in a pre-meditated protest over refereeing decisions that went against them in earlier playoff games. Needless to say, fans who bought tickets for the farce of a game, were less than impressed and demanded a refund.

7. Nicklas Backstrom

The Washington Capitals rookie nearly cost his team a playoff spot last season on March 12 when he fired Sidney Crosby's cross-ice pass into his own net, giving Pittsburgh the winning goal with just 28 seconds left in a crucial game. "I don't know how it could happen. But it happened," he said. Backstrom said he thought he was closer to the corner when he tried to put the puck behind the net, rather than directly in front of goalie Cristobal Huet. Fortunately for Backstrom, the Capitals did come back to make the playoffs.

6. Stan Van Den Buys

In a January, 1995 Belgian league soccer game against Anderlecht, General Ekeren defender Van Den Buys scored three goals, all into his own net. Anderlecht won the game 3-2 and Van Den Buys has the distinction of scoring the most own goals in a legitimately played game.

5. Rob Ramage

While playing for the Colorado Rockies on Nov. 28, 1979, Ramage inadvertently helped New York Islanders goaltender Billy Smith become the first goalie to be credited with a goal. After Smith blocked a shot into the corner on a delayed penalty, defenceman Ramage snagged the puck in the corner and fired a pass back to the blue-line. Since he was already in the corner there was no one there, and since his goalie was on the bench for an extra attacker, and the puck sailed all the way into his own net.

4. Barbados vs. Grenada

In a 1994 Caribbean Cup game, Barbados needed to beat Grenada by two goals to reach the final. Organizers of the tournament had decreed that any overtime goal would be worth two goals, a move designed to discourage teams from playing for the tie. Instead, the move backfired as it created this unlikely scenario. With seven minutes left in regulation time and their team leading 2-1, Barbados decided to score on its own net in order to force overtime, where they could gain the necessary two goals by scoring just once. As a result, the Grenadians spent the last seven minutes unsuccessfully trying to score on their own goal, with the Barbadians defending. Eventually, Barbados won in extra time.

3. Steve Martins

On Feb. 20, 2008, the Chicago Wolves player helped Manitoba Moose goalie Drew MacIntyre one-up Billy Smith, with almost a carbon copy of the own goal scored by Rob Ramage. The big difference was that this AHL game was in overtime and that meant Manitoba's goalie got credit for the OT winner.

2. Steve Smith

Widely considered the worst goal in NHL history, Smith's gaffe came on April 30, 1986. It was Game 7 of the Smythe Division final, five minutes into the third period of a 2-2 game between the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers and their fiercest rivals, the Calgary Flames. While trying to make a pass out from behind the net, Smith accidentally banked a shot off goalie Grant Fuhr and into his own net, giving Calgary the 3-2 win and perhaps costing the Oilers another championship. It was the only time in five years, Edmonton didn't win the Cup. For the rest of his career, fans of opposing teams always greeted Smith with a familiar suggestion: "Shoot."

1. Andres Escobar

The Colombian international player accidentally directed a crossing pass into his own net during a game at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, giving the host team a 2-1 victory and eliminating the Colombians from contention. Just 10 days later in his home town, Escobar was shot and killed, with the motive widely believed to be punishment for his World Cup gaffe.


Photos