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When Matt Villalta and Los Angeles Kings goalie development coach Matt Millar lined up at the face-off dots at the end of a recent practice with the Ontario Reign, and Millar started saucing cross-ice passes for one-timers, it was tempting to write it off as a fun way to wind down.

While there was indeed an element of enjoyment involved — what goalie doesn’t like rifling pucks bar down — there was also a reason Villalta was doing so with his goalie stick. For as much fun as he was having, there was also a skill-building component to this simple drill.

“We like doing this because it’s fun just to rip bombs but also I feel like any chance you can get to one-touch a puck is a good thing too,” Villalta said. “Doing 1-Ts lets you learn your stick, feel the whip on it, getting it in the right spot and then you can really fire it off. I feel like it helps out even on rims, say a quick pop play, it rims around and steps off the boards maybe an inch, you can one-touch it and I just feel like it kind of helps with the handles and in that sense.”

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