Game 4 of the finals with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning Brandon Saad scored their second goal. The reason why I am pointing this goal out is because it was a perfect example of why you should drive the net as well as stop in front of it. Skating past the net gives you a lesser percentage to score and could also be a chance to miss a scoring opportunity. Off of the face-off Saad drove the net with great puck protection (sticking his leg out to give a barrier and to lengthen the space between the opponent and puck), got the puck on net, and then stopped, only to find the puck coming back to him. He then backhanded it in for the goal. That was a great individual effort and it became the game winner. On the ice you should always give yourself as well as your team the best chance to make opportunities happen. A lot of the time opportunities aren’t given to you, they are earned and this is a prime example of that.
During practice I always preach to players to stop in front of the net. Most kids have the “bad habit” already of skating past the net after a shot. I tend to do a lot of drills to make a net front presence an important aspect so it gets ingrained in their minds. I also believe the cliché, “hard work pays off”. This part goes for attacking and driving the net. Sometimes in hockey you have to do a little dirty work to make a difference and that is what Saad did. It wasn’t fancy or special. It was a smart heads up play which game the Blackhawks a lead and ultimately a win.
Here is a link for the video on YouTube: