No Red Lights: Hockey: Dictating the Forward (Behind the Net, Part Deux) - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Dictating the Forward (Behind the Net, Part Deux)

If you've read my earlier post on the difference between anticipation and predictability, apply those concepts to forwards behind the net -- trust me, it will make your life as a goalie much easier. Here's why; Forwards behind the net have only three options:

1) pass;
2) go left; or
3) go right.

Because forwards only have these options, they become predictable and easily manipulated. I know this seems a bit odd -- a goalie controlling a forward? Usually it's the other way around, the forward controls how the goalie should react. But given the constraints and tendencies of forwards. This is possible. Even at best, the goalie can make the forward hesitate and re-think their options. So let's start here with the Forward's options and tendencies.

Generally, if a forward is given a golden opportunity to wrap the puck around the net, they will take it. This is their first tendency; to get the puck on net as quick as possible. The reason why forwards can be manipulated is because it is easier and faster to wrap the puck around the net on their forehand. Because of the curve of a stick, a forward can actually stand behind the net and wrap the puck around on their forehand. But try the same thing on their backhand, and it is impossible (from that same position). They will have to move closer to the front of the net in order to get the shot on net.

So to control a forward, a goalie can "cheat" or "favor" the forward's forehand side. When the forward is directly behind the net (to the point where you could go to either post or stay in the middle of the net), go to the post which is on the forward's forehand side. Make sure you hug the post, having your heel tight to the inside of the post to prevent a wrap around. Moving to this post will cause a forward to go for the open space -- which happens to be the post on their backhand as well as the more difficult shot/pass. Most forwards will either try to go to their backhand because it looks open, try to pass or hold onto it; very few will try to jam it in on their forehand side, but even then, the post should be more than covered. If the forward decides to pass, it is much easier to stop a backhand pass (they are not as strong as a forehand pass, generally).

But if a pass makes it to the front of the net or the forward is able to walk in front of the crease -- then this becomes a desperate situation, which will test the goalies' ability to stay square, be aggressive and mostly importantly, to react. These are some of the hardest saves to make. So do yourself a favor and make the forward shoot/pass from their backhand!