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With the World Junior Championships set to start on Boxing Day in an Edmonton bubble, we figured the timing was perfect to reflect on last year’s gold medal winner, Joel Hofer of Team Canada by giving him a couple of Pro Reads segments from his run to the title.

Hofer has since turned pro and is set to start his first season with the St. Louis Blues, so it still qualifies as a Pro Read but we’ll start by taking a look at a play against Finland in the semi-final of last year’s tournament in the Czech Republic. Hofer, who was named the tournament’s top goalie after finishing 5-0-0 with a .939 save percentage, already shared a tip from the gold-medal game against Russia on how to help calm down teammates in big moments.

Now, the 20-year-old breaks down a sharp angle attack against Finland for us.

​The Scenario

This play starts in the Canadian zone and a seemingly harmless 5-on-5 situation, but things change quickly after the Finnish defenseman on the right side eludes a check coming down the wall near the top of the faceoff circle and starts to attack towards the dot. Fortunately for Canada, Hofer takes a snapshot of the options while this play was higher the zone:

Using that quick look off the puck, Hofer said he already had a handle on the most dangerous threats. As the play gets closer to the net, what do you take out of the two freeze frames? What do you make of his positioning relative to the post in the one below?

THE SAVE

Now take a look at the entire sequence. Based on the build-up, the end may surprise you.

Now that you’ve seen that this play ends with a sharp-angle attack and a well-executed poke check, it’s time to hear from Hofer as he walks us through that early read, and the keys to his quick transition from being square up outside his post, to tucked into RVH against it.

Hofer talks about his post coverage and his evolution from a skate-on-post integration to having his toe box on the post for a better seal, and because this breakdown was originally part of an InGoal InPerson webinar with Hofer and his offseason goalie coach, Eli Wilson, we get some bonus breakdown from the coach as well in this extended video review:

The Pro-Read

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