What is a Penalty Shot in Hockey?

When watching hockey, you will suddenly see the fans go crazy with huge applause. If you are not aware, you might be surprised at this. This is commonly known as a penalty shot in hockey. What exactly is a penalty shot in hockey? 

During a hockey match, when a player is awarded a free shot at the goal, this is called a penalty shot. This shot is given when the other player tries to prevent or obstruct the chances of getting the score. Normally, the penalty shots are given in place of power-play chances to get a scoring opportunity. 

The full explanation of when penalty shots are taken throughout a game and their history is given in this article. Let’s move toward the details.

What is a Penalty Shot in Hockey?

An unrestricted try to strike the goalkeeper with the ball from the middle of the ice is known as a penalty shot. A penalty shot results from specific kinds of fouls and is taken throughout the regular game. 

Penalty Shot in Hockey

It is normally given to the players when the opposite team’s player tries to stop the player from getting a goal. Also, penalty shots are awarded in place of power-play chances by following a breakaway scoring opportunity.

Related Post: How Many Hockey Players In a Team?

Penalty Shot Vs Shootout – What’s the Difference?

You must be aware that both the penalty shot and the shootout are the same play. But they both perform differently. It involves a player who goes from the middle of the ice without interacting with other players and gets the chance of making the score.

Penalty Shot

During the conventional and overtime rounds of the match, a penalty shot is taken. Due to the penalty, an opportunity to score has been eliminated by a team. If the player makes a score, a goal is recorded on the board in the team’s statistics, and against the goalkeeper’s numbers.

Penalty Shot


If the score of both teams will be equal after standard and overtime, the match will go to a shootout. This will help to determine the winner. Three players are chosen by each side to participate in the shootout. 

The winner of the match will be the squad with the most scores overall when three players will be combined. After the three shots, if the score is still equal, each team will choose a shooter till one of them succeeds and the other fails.


The shooters’ statistics are not affected by the scores they make. Also, the shot blockers’ statistics are not affected by the allowed saves and scores. The team which will win in the entire shootout will have the goals on the scoreboard. 

When is a Penalty Shot Awarded?

  • A getaway player who is stopped from behind gets a penalty shot.
  • When a player is on a breakout or there is insufficient time for the penalty to serve in ordinary or overtime, the goaltender or a player moves the net. They get a penalty shot as a result. 
  • Whenever the ball is in the goalkeeper’s line and a player in his defensive area touches or grabs the ball, they will be awarded a penalty shot. 
  • A player will get a penalty shot if a competitor player comes off the sideline to strive and prevent a player who is on a breakaway.
  • If a player on a breakaway receives an item such as a stick or glove from another player or a crowd, the penalty shot will be given.
  • When a player throws a stick or another item at a player in the defensive line, it prevents the player from having a chance to score. In this situation, a player will be awarded a penalty shot.

Who Takes the Penalty Shot?

Usually, there are players in the game who will have the ball and are obstructed by the squad that had the penalty shot. These players will take the penalty shot. 

Who Takes the Penalty Shot
Who Takes Penalty Shot

The only exception to this rule is when the ball was improperly taken while in the goal area. It also includes the exception when the referees couldn’t identify the violating player. In these situations, the referee will choose a player to take the penalty shot.

The Don’t of the Penalty Shot

When a player is on the penalty shot, he/she will not be capable of doing anything he/she wants. They will have to follow some rules and instructions. 

The following is a list of forbidden behavior that will stop the penalty shot:

  • There won’t be any goalkeeper bounce goals on the penalty shots. 
  • After the penalty shot, a forechecker will be held instead of the action continuing. 
  • No rotation will be permitted in which a player makes a full 360-degree round. 
  • The player is not permitted to entirely stop before going forward again.
  • If the ball hits the boundary line, it cannot be played and the penalty shot will be over.

Related Post: Why Do Hockey Players Leave Their Sticks On The Ice?

What Percentage of Penalty Shots in Hockey are Made? NHL Penalty Shot Stats

In the case of 33.00% penalty shots, or a single attempt out of three attempts, there will be a goal. 

The following table will show the number of penalty shots, the number of goals scored, and the overall success for the previous ten NHL seasons:

SeasonsAttemptGoal ScoredPercentage
Source:  list of the NHL’s last 15 seasons

Where is the Faceoff after a Penalty Shot?

In hockey, the game is initiated with a faceoff after a pause, immediately after a score, or at the beginning of the period. One player from each squad approaches the faceoff zone and waits for the referee to release the ball. 

Faceoff after a Penalty Shot

After the penalty shot, a faceoff will be in the middle of the ice. Also, the faceoff will take place at the faceoff zone in the goalkeeper’s area. It will happen after an unsuccessful try for a penalty shot.

Conclusion: What is a Penalty Shot in Hockey?

In hockey, a penalty shot is given to the player when the other player tries to stop his/her chances of making a goal. Ice hockey’s penalty shot is a rare and exceptional performance of a player. Also, a player is given a free shot at the goal after an opponent commits a foul.

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