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How often do you watch a hockey game on TV or in person and you see a goal scored where everyone says ďThe goalie never had a chanceĒ ? Iíll be youíve made this statement many times. While the final shot may have been nearly impossible to stop, there were likely harmless looking steps prior to the goal that the goalie could have taken to prevent the goal. Letís look at a few of these situations.

Situation 1: The goalie stops the puck for his D but has a lousy, poorly communicated hand-off and the other teamís forechecker steals the puck and passes it to a player in front of the net for an easy tap-in.

Had the goalie taken charge and firmly both verbally and non-verbally communicated with the D as to what he or she will do with the puck, there is no giveaway and no goal.

Situation 2: A long slap shot is taken from the point and the goalie fails to aim the puck to a safe space and a rebound goal occurs.

How many times in practice do you pay attention where you aim the puck if you canít freeze it? Iíll bet you donít give your practice rebound control much thought at all. If you donít pay attention to where your rebounds go in practice, donít be surprised if youíre giving out some nice presents to the opposition in games. Read whatís going on around you and put the rebounds in safe places.

Situation 3: A shooter is very wide and deep in your zone and you get caught gliding on your heels because you donít think a shot or back door pass is coming.

Too often goalies assume there is no threat of a shot and get caught mentally and physically relaxing. If a shooter is wide and you let your guard down, you may not be able to stop a well-placed or lucky shot on goal or be able to defend a player camped out on your back door. Gliding backwards when you need to be square and on the balls of your feet can cost you your angles and the ability to close off your 5 Hole and other sneaky holes the puck can sneak through. Stay alert at all times!

Situation 4: Are you a spectator?

Too often goalies get caught watching the puck move around and try to move late. If you learn to move with passes and move towards rebounds as soon as you can, you can be on your angle before the other team can take another shot at you. If you daydream and hesitate to challenge plays correctly, you lose opportunities to make easier saves.

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training.

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