In hockey there are a select group of players that are able to combine skill, accuracy, patience and hockey sense in order to create and find that perfect scoring opportunity. But what if I told you that there is one Spot that can find the back of the net on most goalies throughout the hockey world. This one Spot is in a position where goalies have a tough time reacting too and finding the proper position necessary to make the save. In their head, they don’t know whether to use the blocker, glove, pad or stick to come across and stop the puck.
The Spot, lies just above the goal pad, which is 11 inches wide on a standard goaltending pad restricted by NHL rules. It is, on a left handed catching goaltenders, left side when looking straight at them, just under or beside the blocker or glove depending on how the goalie is positioned. Just inside the post is where you should be looking to shoot and depending on your angle you should just know that putting the puck in that area gives you a great opportunity to score.
In a 2011 study of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, the article talks about all aspects of both Capitals goaltenders and breaks down where goals are scored from, against who and things of that nature. As part of the study it always looked into the zones where most goals are scored. In the diagram below you will notice the percentages of where these goals went in on Varlamov.
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I’m not sure if it was pure coincidence when I decided to write this article that I found this study or not, but I thought it was very interesting to see where the shots went in on such an established goaltender.
Through experience, I have also found the benefits of that location and was able to score a few goals there myself. I have played with goalies that, when you shoot there over and over again and find it a weakness for them, they become very frustrated and I think for themselves, they cannot identify the problem and understand why such a shot can go in consistently.
Every hockey player knows the game Rebound. It is a game usually played at the end of practice where five players play against a goaltender in a game up to 10. There is one shooter lined up at the hash-marks in front of the net and the other four players are positioned more towards the net, two on each side. The player shooting looks to score or give a rebound out so that his team has the chance to score on the goaltender. You are allowed one pass after the initial shot and after every following rebound. If there is a goal, 1 point for the players, a save, 1 point for the goalie. In this game you can really see how this shot can work. I have played many games of rebound throughout my career and have seen many players take advantage of this Spot. If you are able to freeze the goalie just enough, or get the shot off quick and in that location, your chance of scoring is very high.
Many great players, great goal scorers are able to find this Spot. It is a location in the net where a goal scorer can identify as a weakness to a goalie and find it every time. Watch an NHL or any hockey game on a given night and you will likely see at least one goal scored there. Practice this shot over and over again, and I will guarantee you that you will find the back of the net a lot more.