The Goalie’s Six Holes

The Goalie’s Six Holes

We have all heard the announcers describe a goal that beat the
goalie “through the 5 hole.” The 5th hole is the one between the
goalie’s pads.
Actually there are a total of 6 holes, or areas we isolate in order to
teach goalies how to “close holes” and shooters how to score.
Let’s examine them: (see photo #1)

Hole #1: Low to the stick side.
This used to be the most popular place to score a goal. The goalie
can only rely on the quickness of his pad on a butterfly or half butterfly
save. The goalie stick is a non-factor on a shot to this spot.
Goalies actually become better with their stick glove leg than their
catch glove leg because the stick cannot be a “crutch”. More and
more goalies are reaching down with their blocker to cover this area,
or are dropping their paddle to cover this hole in tight.

Hole #2: Low to the glove side.
Most goaltenders are much weaker with this leg, but rely on their
stick and possible catch glove. Less goals are scored here than #1,
just because of the stick and glove options…Not because of fast feet.
Goalies must improve the use of their catch glove pad!

Hole #3: High stick side.
This is an area that is very tough to score on. Because of the size of
the stick glove, and its position, there is not a lot of room to score. It
may look like net is available, but it is very hard, for example, for a
righty to shoot the puck across his body over or past the stick glove of
a goalie who holds his stick in his right hand.

Hole #4: High catch glove side.
This is an area players love to shoot…and rightfully so because there are lots of goals scored here. However, more pucks probably miss the net and hit the glass then are saved.
Goalies hurt themselves with their glove positioning in this hole. Often they drop their glove too low, or position the glove in front of their chest so the entire middle to top portion of the net of the glove side is wide open. . . (We call this a claw). Shooters with good hands often change the location of the puck and goalies rarely adjust, further emphasizing the “top shelf, glove side”.
Occasionally, too, goalies try to catch the puck “behind them” and
cannot get it as it rises past them. Ideally, the catch glove should be above the waist, in front of the body, and extended out the side.

Hole #5: Between the pads…the 5 hole.
Having watched years of professional hockey games and practice, I am convinced that the 5-hole is the most popular location to shoot.
With the advent of the butterfly style, and the fact that the bigger the
goalie, the larger the legs and the longer the way down, the 5-hole
is a mouth watering target of many shooters. Goalies are scored on here for one of the following reasons:


1) A sloppy stick. Shots on the ice, which should be
stopped by the stick, end up going in because of a stick
that is not disciplined enough to stay in position, covering
the 5-hole.

2) Soft Kneedrops. Whether a full of half butterfly,
pucks go “under” goalies because they drop softly.

3) Lack of flexibility.
A goaltender needs to be able to
leave his feet, flair out the pads, yet still keep the knees
together. That does not always happen and pucks
make it through.

4) Bad equipment. The goal pants need to “work with
the pads” to close all holes when the goalie drops. If
the pants are too small, or the pads too short, holes

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