Goaltending Point Shots: Tips and Tricks

Corey Hirsch; National Team Goaltending Consultant
February 21, 2008

I am noticing a disturbing trend in the increasing number of goaltenders who are getting beat by screens and tips from point shots. This is becoming a problem as young goaltenders are not being taught properly as to how much they should challenge a point shot. This is due strictly to being caught too deep in the net and not being aggressive enough when the puck is at the point. A good rule of thumb for point shots is that a goaltender should be at the minimum of having their toes on the edge of the top of the crease when the puck is at the point. The only time this would change is during a 5 on 3 powerplay where a goalie may have to hang back due to the fact that there will be 2 extra men open. So get out of the crease and be aggressive, hanging back only opens up net and enhances screens

Tricks of the trade

Get out there and get your toes to the top of the crease:
On any point shot whether it be a screen or an open shot, be aggressive and get your toes at a minimum of the top of the crease. This will allow you to take away some of the shooters advantages and will in fact put you at the advantage. It will allow you to get closer to the player that is screening you, which will allow you to see better. It will also allow you to take away any tips or redirections. If you hang back in your crease it makes it extremely difficult to see through a screen and opens up way too much net for tips and redirections that you will have no chance to react to.

Open point shot:
Any time the puck is at the point on an open point shot get your toes to the top of the crease, be aggressive, and take away some of the net. Hanging back only gives the shooter more net to work with and will enhance the ability for him to beat you with an open shot. Read the play and be aware of any dangerous players lurking for a garbage goal, but if there is no other imminent threat, get out there and make him beat you.

Screen shots from point:
The best way to play a screen shot is to get as close to the player as possible that is screening you. This takes away his advantage of not letting you be able to see and if he does happen to tip or redirect a puck, it takes away any chance for the tip to go anywhere as you are so close to the player that the puck will have nowhere to go.

Tips or redirections from point shots:
With the speed of a shot, the actual possibility of reacting to a tip is minimal. The best way to avoid getting beat by a tip on a point shot is to get as close to the tip as possible. This will put you into a blocking position and will take away any angle the puck has to move. If you hang back too far, it gives up too much net and this will put you into a reacting position which is almost impossible.

Pro Tip

Looking through a screen:

When trying to look through a screen, the absolute best way to look for the puck is to get as close to the player screening you and look over top of them. A lot of young goalies are being taught to hang back and look low through player’s legs, THIS IS 100% WRONG. All this does is opens up the top of the net. By looking low through a player’s legs it makes it extremely difficult to move by putting too much pressure on your legs. It will also enhance the screen and I guarantee you will eventually lose sight of the puck. The puck moves around too fast, and by looking over top of a player it opens everything up.

The theory of this is that most point shots are low, so you should stay low. This could not be more wrong. The fact of the matter is that players are becoming smarter as defensemen are getting their shots up and finding the top of the net. This is because goalies are increasingly, staying low in their crouch, looking through a player’s legs and losing the puck. Trust me if you come out of your crouch a bit to look over players you will still have plenty of time to react to the shot.

A good analogy of this is by thinking if you were lost in a forest and needed to find your way out, the best way would be too get as high as you can, to see as far as you can, and over top of everything. You wouldn’t get on the ground to look and try to find your way out, because you wouldn’t be able to see anything.

The same goes for goaltending….the lower you look the less you can see. If you look high over people you can see players, the puck and be able to read the play.

*When looking over a player it is ok to come out of your stance a bit to try to look over the player. Try to keep the toe of your stick on the ice and knees slightly bent. When a player does get into a shooting position, you will then quickly get back into your lower stance.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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