Hockey Goaltending (part 5 of 6)

5. Puck Handling

Characteristics of an Effective Puck-Handling Goaltender

There are five main components that make an effective puck-handling goaltender.

Think and move your feet at the same time. … An inefficient goaltender freezes his feet when making a play to move the puck up the ice. … It is important to look up ice and keep your feet moving in the same direction.

Point and move your feet up ice. It is essential that you always have your feet pointed up ice. … You should always attempt to make plays up ice. Playing the puck backwards can be disastrous.

Transition efficiently to two hands on the stick. You need to be adept at getting both hands on your stick prior to making a play.

Move the puck to the forehand whenever possible. The puck is easier to control on the forehand, and often, passes are more accurate because you can see the play in front of you. … You are blind to the one side of the ice when you are making passes off the backhand.

Communicate with teammates. Skaters give goalies instructions on what to do with the puck while goalies alert the skaters to potential threats behind them. … Language used between defensemen and goalies should be as simple as possible, for example, leave it, over, or rim.

Gripping the Stick

There are two types of grips you can use when playing the puck: the overhand and the underhand grip. Very few goaltenders use the underhand grip.

Overhand Grip. The glove hand is placed over the top of the shaft of the stick. It is important that you use a firm grip, applying pressure on the thumb of your catching hand.

  • Allows you to use leverage by pushing down on the ice and forward on the puck
  • Excellent for short passes

Underhand Grip is used to shoot the puck. … Reach around the bottom of your stick and firmly place your glove on the underside of the stick and squeeze. Then, put pressure down on the ice and snap your hands forward to get the puck off your stick.

  • It is better for shooting and executing long passes.

Passing the Puck

  • Ensure you have a strong bottom hand on the stick
  • Point your fee at your intended target
  • Choose the easiest option

Playing Rims

Anytime there is a shot around the boards from outside the blue line, you should leave the net to play the puck.

Stopping a Rim. … Goaltenders are become more adept at handling rims using just their sticks. This is the preferred method of handling a rim as opposed to the whole-body technique. … After successfully stopping a rim:

  • Stop It Dead. When a hard rim comes around, get behind the middle of the net, stop the puck completely, and leave it for your defenseman.
  • Touch and Move. When the rim comes in on your backhand, … stop the puck dead, pull it off the wall, and send it to your defenseman in one continuous motion … without breaking skating stride.
  • Keep the Rim Going. Instead of stopping the rim, simply continue the puck around the boards to make a direct pass to a teammate … in one fluid motion.
  • Set the Puck. You stop the puck and pull it off the wall, making it accessible to your teammate’s forehand. Then, you must quickly get back into the net.

Rims to the Forehand Side. Where is the optimal position to make first contact with the puck? Do I stop the puck and play it up ice or simply leave it for my defenseman? … If there is very little pressure from the opposition, you can stop the puck for your defenseman and let him orchestrate the play out of the defensive zone. When more pressure is applied, you can either move the puck up ice to a defenseman, provided he is open, or get the puck out of your own zone to alleviate the pressure.

Position yourself directly behind the net and place your stick firmly against the wall to meet the oncoming puck.

Rims to the Backhand Side. Backhand rims are handled quite differently than those that come to the forehand. … When stopping a puck on the backhand, you should try to use your momentum to pivot and transition the puck to the forehand whenever possible. … Position yourself directly behind the net and using the top hand to guide, jam the toe of your stick firmly against the boards to create a blockade.

Dump-Ins on Goal

  • When a long dump-in shot approaches the net, you must come out at the puck and butterfly so it doesn’t skip over you and into the goal.
  • When a dump-in comes along the ice, you want to back up your stick with your glove. Once you have control of the puck, you can make a play up ice.
  • When a dump-in on goal is high, you should catch the puck and bring your glove to the ice with momentum so the puck lays flat.

Dump-Ins to the Stick Side

We divided the ice surface into three zones: the reinforcement zone, the forehand zone, and the paddle-down zone.

Reinforcement Zone  is the area either directly on goal or close to it … cautiously handle the puck by backing up your stick with the glove, body, or a combination of both. … After the puck has been stopped and controlled, you can then scan the ice to make the optimal play. … If the best play is to your forehand, make sure to step back from the puck and move it directly on your forehand.

There are instances where your optimal play is to make a quick forward outlet pass with one hand on the stick, for example, when the defenseman is skating quickly back toward you.

Forehand Zone is the midway portion between the goal and the corner of the ice. … Leave your net quickly to intercept the puck before it crosses the goal line, skate past the puck as it approaches, and turn your body to receive the puck on your forehand.

Paddle-Down Zone is the area beside the net near the far corner of the ice. … Stopping the puck above the red line is accomplished by utilizing the paddle-down-above-the-goal-line technique. … and then get up and rotate over the front of the puck , bringing the puck to the forehand.

Leaving and Returning to the Net

It is more efficient for you to enter the net on the side of the goal you play to puck or whichever direction continues the momentum of your current movement.

Cutting the Post. When entering or exiting, rather than taking a wide turn by the net, it is best to skate as close to the post as possible.

Setting a Pick. After setting the puck, simply take a little more time getting back to your net. Then, given the opportunity, bump into the opposing forechecker. … When setting a pick, don’t cut the post. Instead, come in a little wider.