Hi Hockey Fans,
I found a great study a couple years ago and I continue to use it to point out the best ways to score in the game. The study is called The Royal Road and was done by former NHL goalie, Steve Valiquette. This study outlines the top seven best chances of scoring which are:
- Passes across the Royal Road (22%)
- Screens (10%)
- One timers on the same side of the Royal Road (9%)
- Broken plays (9%)
- Possession across the Royal Road (8%)
- Deflections (8%)
- Green rebounds (8%)
Now, it is also important to highlight that the shot must be released within half a second in order to qualify as one of these chances. If the goalie has one second to square up and have a clear sight line, it does not qualify has a “green shot.” That is another big focus of our training. Quick release wrist shots and one timers are crucial to scoring goals particularly at higher levels.
Now, in my opinion, the top three ways of scoring are different from the percentages as we can’t always account for a screen when we get a chance to shoot and broken plays are a mere fluke. Thus, let’s have a look at the other three.
- Passes across the Royal Road – this is the common power play goal that you see by most NHL snipers. Ovechkin and Stamkos make a living setting up on their off wing and firing one timers from cross ice passes. If you ever see a teammate open on the opposite side of the ice, I strongly suggest you pass it as this gives you the best chance of scoring.
- One timers on the same side of the Royal Road – this is another one that I find is becoming more and more common in highlight packs. Quite often, this works best when a team gets the puck from behind the goal line to an open player on the same side of the ice in front of the net. The goalie doesn’t have time to adjust their depth and the quick release helps to catch them off guard. If you can find a teammate open in front or at the point, try setting them up for a one timer if their stick is on the outside (closer to the boards).
- Possession across the Royal Road – this is your best option if you don’t have any options to pass the puck. Instead of just shooting from the outside, trying cutting across the Royal Road prior to shooting. This forces the goalie to shuffle and opens them up.
Those are my top three that I look for in a game. If I’m the one around the net, I do my best to set up a screen, tip pucks, and scoop up rebounds to give my team a better chance of scoring. If you have a teammate who can carry the puck and create the plays, I would recommend heading to the net quickly to look for these secondary opportunities as well!
Remember to also focus on quick release. If you take a big wind up every wrist shot, you’re giving the goalie more time to get set for the shot. Start practicing the same shot you typically use, but with less wind up. You might sacrifice a little velocity in the beginning, but the quick release will help make up for it and over time you’ll be able to shoot it nearly as hard as you would with a big wind up.
Keep the Royal Road in mind when you’re trying to score goals (and when you’re playing defense) and you’ll see an increase in your points!
If you need any hockey tips, drop me a line!