Preparing to Handle Far Pad Rebound Shots
A puck-carrier rushes down his natural wing. The goaltender comes out establishing angle, depth and squareness to the puck.
The attacker releases a shot to the goaltender’s weak-side pad resulting in a rebound directed towards the slot. Anticipating a rebound, a net-driving attacker shoots the puck in the back of the net for an easy goal.
The goaltender is blamed for poor rebound control.
This set play is a classic scenario with which goaltenders at all levels of the game should be familiar.
It is a play astute coaches teach players specifically for the purposes of generating solid scoring opportunities.
There are things required for this play to have the desired outcome from both the shooter’s, and goaltender’s perspective.
For the shooter to be successful in generating the desired rebound, it is preferable the shot at the weak-side pad is slightly off the ice. This makes it difficult for a goaltender to employ the goal stick to deflect the puck either to the corner, or over the glass. The angle of the shot relative to goaltender position also plays a role in the type of rebound generated.
From the goaltender’s perspective, there are two different factors to consider:
1. If the puck is shot along the ice, the goaltender must deflect the puck to the corner or over the glass as noted.
2. If the shot is taken slightly off the ice, a certain combination of hip abduction and knee extension is required to create a desirable puck “exit angle” off the pad. The unwanted rebound usually occurs as a result of excessive knee extension like a pinball game flipper directing the puck towards the slot. Training is required to prevent this from happening and it can be practiced in a progressive fashion (please see last year’s “Developing more Progressive Goaltending Drills” article).
A basic drill would see the goaltender in his stance at the top of the blue paint. A stationary shooter positioned at the top of the circle, would take shots at the weak-side pad both along, and off, the ice. This forces the goaltender to both use their stick and practice the correct combination of hip and knee movements.
In either case, the stick is rotated on an arc towards the weak-side pad in an effort to make the save.
If missed by the stick, the pad is naturally there as a back-up to ensure the puck doesn’t enter the net (n.b., it is the author’s sincere belief that as many saves as possible should be stick-based and that poor stick skills results in many unnecessary pad-based rebounds by far too many goaltenders).
An exit-angle pylon is positioned on the weak side as illustrated in the diagram. This provides immediate visual feedback about the desired outcome result.
A more difficult drill involves a puck-carrier beginning a rush just outside the blue-line.
Upon reaching the top of the circle, a shot is released at the weak-side pad. A second (stationary) shooter, positioned in the slot, releases a second shot on net shortly after the initial save. Even if a desirable exit angle is achieved with the initial shot, a second shot forces the goalie to practice the mechanics of pivoting, pushing and sliding laterally in an effort to make a secondary save. An option exists to always release a second shot on goal, or solely when a favorable exit angle is not achieved off the first shot. The increased difficulty requires a certain amount of pre-requisite skill, physical power and maturity.
A very difficult drill involves a competition between goaltender and teammates.
A total of ten pucks are used. A puck-carrier rushes in and releases the initial shot as described above. A second attacker begins his rush slightly after that of the initial skater. Regardless of the first puck exits angle, the second shot is ALWAYS released slightly after the initial shot. The goaltender may earn zero, one or two points off either shot.
If either shot results in a goal, the shooters receive two points and the goaltender zero.
The goaltender receives two points for a favourable exit angle below the pylon off the first shot. If the initial shot results in a poor exit angle save, both goaltender and shooter receive one point only. If the second shot is saved, with an undesirable first shot result, the goalie earns a single point. Finally, if the second shot is saved after a favorable first shot outcome, the goaltender receives two points for the second shot. A total of twenty points is therefore the ultimate goal for all participants.
The scoring system rewards goals and juicy rebounds from the shooters perspective. Even if the first shot is saved, the goalie is punished for poor rebound control. Only saves with excellent rebound control are rewarded with maximum points.
In conclusion, shooting off a goaltender’s weak-side pad is a classic scenario used to generate a favorable rebound and hopefully a goal. Inadequate hip abduction with excessive knee extension often results in the desired rebound propelling the puck towards the slot. Goaltenders must therefore not only be familiar with this play, but work to refine muscle memory for the combined movements of the knee and hip to produce less dangerous rebounds of the pads.
With dedication this can be done but as always it’s about practice, practice and more practice.