Scoring Goals

If you haven’t seen it yet, Steve Valiquette has a segment on MSG called “Valley’s View”. He breaks down scoring and goaltending in NHL games and looks at many different elements of the position and the game. Here is a GREAT five minute video about the types of shots that generate goals and how and why that happens. My key takeaway? Much like it says in the notes of the video – “Those sequences are all qualified by the fact the goalie has less than half a second of sight before the puck releases from the shooters stick.”

Want to score goals? A quick release and an element of deception/angle change for the goaltender.—red-shots.html

Follow Steve on Twitter at @valleys_view or catch him on MSG Hockey Night Live.

Wednesday Drill of the Week (Double Header Edition)

Two drills for you this week, as I missed last week.

I’ll give you two sets of offensive scoring drills. These are drills that work on a forwards ability to finish with the puck in tight to the net. Drills are laid out clockwise, starting in the top left corner.

Scoring Circuit


A. One-time redirects. Forward starts at the top of the dot (barrier covers the bottom part of the net). Forward accelerates towards the net, coach fires a puck to the top of the crease where the F gets heavy on his stick and redirects the puck into the upper part of the net. Drive hard to the net and finish in tight.

B. Rebound scoring. A barrier covers the bottom part of the net. Coach and Forward start from the hashmarks. Coach fires a puck at the barrier as a forward accelerates towards the net. Forward has to collect the rebound and either make a move around the barrier or lift the puck over the barrier. Collect the puck and quickly maneuver in tight.

C. Net drive/pass out. Forward drives along the wall and makes a pass to another F driving the middle lane either before or after the net. Another forward or coach puts pressure on the driving forward, dictating where and how he has to make a play on the pass out.

D. Pop out shooting. Forwards always face the net. Two forwards have pucks on either side of the net. Forward starts in between the cones, receives a pass and quickly releases the puck on net. As soon as he shoots, he backpedals around the top cone, accelerates into the slot on the other side to receive a pass and shoot. He then backpedals and the drill continues. After a few reps going backwards, the forward shoots and then moves forward around the front cone, then backpedaling to the slot.

All of these drills work forwards on play in tight around the net. Quick reactions, good hands, heavy sticks, and accurate shots are all important in these drills. Every effort should be made to do these at game pace – if you don’t practice at game speed you will struggle to translate these skills to a game.

The Importance of the First 20 Minutes

I recently completed a study on the 2011-2012 NCAA hockey season and the situational records of every team. I looked at the records for every team in Division 1 and their wins and losses in home/away games, after each period, after the first goal, and in games of certain scoring margins. I also broke it down by conference and by teams that made the NCAA Tournament. All of these yielded interesting results, but two in particular jumped out at me.

The first number that caught my eye was team records after the first goal. Everyone in hockey wants to score the first goal, but I know that I was unaware as to the impact of that goal on the result of the hockey game. In 2011-2012, teams that scored first won 66.94% of their games. If you just look at teams that made the NCAA Tournament, that number jumps to 78.02%.

The second (and much more striking) number is winning percentage after the first period. Teams that had a lead after the first period won 77.09% of the time. Once again, this number jumps among teams in the Tournament, up to 84.75%.

An old adage in hockey is to “Use statistics like a drunkard uses a lamp post – for support, not illumination.” I do not disagree with this statement and in this case these numbers support the importance of scoring first and having a lead after the first period. Naturally, every team wants to score first and maintain a lead, but I was unaware as to the amount that this influenced a game. Now that I am aware, the process moves to how am I going to use these numbers to make myself a better coach and my team more successful.