What is Pulling the Goalie in Hockey? – Why do Teams do it?

You might see a goalkeeper pulled by one squad in the last few minutes of a tied hockey match. It will be strange for a player who is a newbie. So, what is pulling the goalie in hockey will be the first question they will ask?

If they are lagging, a hockey squad will remove its goalkeeper in the final minutes of the match to boost their chances to score. An offensive player will enter the game as the goalkeeper leaves the rink. It is a high-risk strategy that offers the squad an attacking edge and was successful 18.01 % of the time during the NHL season 2020–21.

What are the details of pulling the goalie in hockey? Let’s find them out.

Pulling the Goalie in Hockey

What is the full strategy behind pulling the goalie?

In an NHL game, replacing the goalkeeper looks unsafe. The squad would lose 100-0 if its objective was to play the entire match with only six players and no goaltender. But only at a critical moment in the match, the goaltender will be removed when a team is down by one or two goals.

Giving your squad an attacking boost is the main purpose of removing the goaltender. A squad normally has five to four players on the rink during a penalty shot. Removing the goalkeeper resembles a penalty shot, but with six players to five instead of three. It also has the danger of an open net.

What is the full strategy behind pulling the goalie

Due to the inability of the defending player to contain all of the forward players, this additional player will enable the team to overrun the offensive zone. The attacking player will be able to create one or two great offensive goal opportunities as a result of this imbalance. In this way, this increases their chances of winning the game.

Furthermore, it offers your squad an attacking opportunity to make one more try to win the game and force it to overtime. Thus, removing a goaltender with only one- or two-minutes remaining is a small length of time to endure for more scores.

Typically, the goaltender won’t be removed until the squad that will be removing the goalkeeper controls the puck. Consider the goaltender going from his goal to the sideline to bring on another opponent. So, this will allow them to try to achieve a goal when the squad pushes the puck across the rink.

Related article post: Where can the goalie play the puck?

The main reason for pulling the goalie: getting points for the standings

Every score won in the NHL rankings is essential because the competition between squads is so strong. Clubs will receive 0 scores for their rankings during the playoffs if they are defeated in regulation time. The regulation time is the initial 60 minutes of the match.

The squad that loses in extra time still receives one score. On the other hand, the side that wins receives two points, if the score is equal at the end of regular time. Because of this, it is advantageous for a side to make every effort to end the game before the normal finishing time.

main reason for pulling the goalie

It is because they will not only get an opportunity to win in extra time but also a tie that guarantees them to get one score. They both know that they are only a few mins away from gaining a definite score.

So, both sides will perform carefully if they are playing in the final few minutes and this is known as “playing for a tie.”

Pulling the goalie: the first time

Frank Boucher is the defensive coordinator of the New York Rangers. He is recognized for pulling a goaltender for the first time. When his side of the team lost at the finish of a match, Boucher began to remove the goalkeeper either in the 1939–1940 or 1940–41 seasons. He is also recognized for the idea of utilizing two goaltenders for a whole year.

Pulling the goalie

Future of Pulling a Goaltender

To obtain a 6-on-3 edge on the penalty shot, a side that is overwhelmed by two skaters or outscored 5-on-3 must pull their goalkeeper. While this is only utilized for hockey in the lower leagues or worldwide, it might become famous in the future.

Related article post: What Percentage Of NHL Players Are Canadian?

Strategy evolution for pulling the goalie

For a lengthy period, it was the prevalent opinion to remove the goalkeeper only in the last seconds of a match. To pull the goalkeeper before the last 60 seconds was practically unheard of. It also was not usual to do this during the match as it was against rules.

The first person to bring this tradition was Hall of Fame goalkeeper and trainer Patrick Roy. When his squad was badly losing with 12 or 13 minutes remaining in the game in 2014, he started pulling the goalkeeper during power plays. He made a 6-on-4 player benefit by doing this.

Strategy evolution for pulling the goalie

If his side lagged by one or two goals at the end of the match, he would then begin removing the goalkeeper with up to three minutes left.

So, Patrick Roy introduced this tradition initially. Now it has become normal for the goalkeeper to be removed with 2 minutes or more left in the match.

How effective is pulling your goalie?

In a hockey match, moving the goalkeeper is an efficient technique. It is because it increases the chances of winning a match for a team. During the NHL year 2021-22, the squad removing its goalkeeper scored a total of 18.01% of the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a goalie come back in the field after pulling out?

The goaltender can enter the goal again after removing it. The team waits to remove the goaltender until they have the puck in their hands and a power play offers a 50/50 chance of winning. So, it is uncommon to have a risk without a goalkeeper in the net.

Why does the team not pull the goalie during the power play?

It is because they consider it preferable to utilize the power play rather than remove the goalkeeper. It is because it has already offered them an opportunity to score more goals. Secondly, scoring a score necessitates more effort than taking out the goalkeeper as there is less time available.

Why does a goalie get credit for hockey wins?

The goaltender is liable for a team’s victory in hockey because he was in his goal. Time is not a factor that determines whether a side is effective when the goal is. Instead of that, how the puck enters the net is important.

Conclusion: What is Pulling the Goalie in Hockey?

What is pulling the goalie in hockey? Removing the goaltender gives the space in the match to enter an additional skater and gives the opposite team an open net. This increases the chance of the opposing team achieving goals that might seem unusual.

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