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Studying Hockey Systems for Goaltending: More PP

Studying Hockey Systems for Goaltending: More PP

Today we continue the series of articles from coach Hiroki Wakabayashi. Too often young goaltenders think their world begins and ends in the blue paint, learning all the intricate details of our position while assuming the rest of the team game holds little value to them. In this series we focus on the team game and how the systems employed by opposing teams can have an effect on how a goaltender reads, prepares for and ultimately handles scoring threats.

Side Overload to Umbrella or 1-3-1 Rotation

We have talked about the scoring patterns from Side Overload power play. Side Overload is a classic formation to control and settle the puck in order to start the attack. Most teams nowadays would rotate from side overload into umbrella or 1-3-1 formation for more shooting and passing options. Good rotation often shakes the PK box to be out of position and create better shooting lanes as the video clip below.

Umbrella Power Play

The simplest formation after the rotation. It works best as the shooting power play if the unit has strong shooters on point area and gritty forwards in front of the net. F1 stays around the top of the circle, D1 in the middle point and D2 is on the top of the circle on the other side. F2 and F3 basically sit in front of the net to create heavy traffic for screen shots, tips and rebounds.

The puck is moving around the big triangle created by F1, D2 and D3. The goalie eventually sees the shots from one of these shooting lanes after some passes. Again, the goalie must study who is the primary shooter among those three.

Since the defensemen have to battle with F2 and F3 in front of the net, the traffic usually gets even more difficult for the goalie. The goalie must move his/her head to find the shot through the screen and trap or cover the rebound as much as possible. Missing the rebound would cost a goal as below.

Here, the goalie successfully find the puck and absorb the rebound under the same scoring pattern.

1-3-1 Power Play

1-3-1 formation is getting very popular in elite level hockey recently. It is a variation on umbrella with F3 staying right in the middle of the slot area instead of parking in front of the net. F2 stays in the corner for passing options or moves in front of the net to create the traffic. This formation creates many triangles to move the puck around and also adds the fourth shooting lane from F3.

Shooting Lane 1

F1, who originally set up the side overload become the shooting lane 1. F1 is usually an “off-wing” shooter as a left handed shooter on the right side and vice versa. F1 usually shoots with screen or tip in front of the net by F2.

Shooting Lane 2

D1 in the middle of the point area is the second shooting lane. F2 would be in front of the net for tip or screen and F3 works as high screen or high deflection.

Shooting Lane 3

D2 on the weak side top of the circle is the third shooting lane. D2 may take one timer if he/she is an “off-wing” shooter. F2 would be in front of the net for screen or sneaks into the backdoor for tip.

Here, the goalie successfully track the shot through the F2 screen and made a solid save against D2 shot.

Shooting Lane 4

F3 in the middle of the slot is the shooting lane 4. F3 doesn’t open up too often but it will be dangerous once the puck gets there clean.

F3 would draw the attention of PK players in the slot and often frees up other shooters.

Here is the example of F3 works as the “post player” to draw the PK player in the middle and direct the puck to D2 for the shot. The goalie was very patient to see the play was developing then T-Push quick enough to get set for the shot.

F3 could work as “High Deflection” for the shots from F1, D1 or D2. Here, the goalie react to the High Deflection and quickly slide toward the far side post for the save.

Having F3 higher in the slot works better for longer rebound in the slot. Here, the goalie slid back the post in reverse VH position for the first rebound but slid out again for next shot from F3. Excellent job on staying in control under all kind of traffic.

1-3-1 from Behind the Net

F2 might make plays from the puck behind the goal-line. The main passing option that he/she has is to D2 who slides in from the weak side. Below, the goalie locked into the VH position and got a little late to slide across the crease for the pass.

Here, the goalie was patiently standing at the post then slid across the crease and barely made the save in almost same situation.

F2 could also feed the puck to F3 who is staying in the strong side slot. This is a difficult pass for the goalie to move out and become square up with.

Here, the goalie made a great glove save by not leaving the short-side post too much.

We still have to cover other power play situations but we’ll have a break on power play scoring patterns and plan to talk about the zone entry plays in our next article.

About The Author

Hiroki Wakabayashi

Hiroki Wakabayashi is a USA level 5 certified hockey coach from Japan. Hiroki has coached goalies and teams in Japan, Canada, USA and five other countries in last twenty years. His work varies from professional teams, national teams (Hong Kong), Junior and NHL drafted goalies to youth hockey level. Heroki is currently working with Arizona Jr. Coyotes.