Short side goals and the RVH: A non-goalie’s guide post play

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It's a constant battle of evolution among goalies and shooters.
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You might be asking yourself, “What’s with all of these short side goals going in during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs? Aren’t those supposed to be low percentage shots?”

You are correct, they are shots from bad angles and should be low percentage shots. Right now they aren’t as low as they have been in the past due to a newer goalie technique called the RVH.

Why are goalies using the RVH?

To fully answer that question, let’s talk about a tale that is old as time itself… the battle of cat and mouse. Or in our case, the constant battle of evolution among goalies and shooters. Let’s dive into the goalie side of the battle.

Understanding goalie language

Before we dive in we need to understand some goalie terminology.

  • Save selection: The goalie’s proper save choice in a given situation.
  • Blocking save: A save in which the goalie does not have the time or ability to react to the shot. Goalies attempt to block off as much space as possible due to the fact they cannot react to the puck.
  • Reactive save: A save in which the goalie  has the ability to react to the shot.
  • Post play: Goalie’s play into, at, and off of their goal posts.

Hockey is not a game of shots. It’s a game of situations.

“Beer pong is a game of shots. Quarters is a game of shots. Playing goal is not a game of shots. It’s a game of situations and every situation you have to figure out.” – Mitch Korn (World’s best goalie coach)

Just like players, goalies have to acquire and utilize their hockey sense. They need to consciously make decisions when choosing their save selections.

Goalies want to make saves (no duh). In order to accomplish that they want to give themselves the best chance at making the save while being able to react to the changing situations. When we talk about RVH we are talking about post play situations when pucks are coming from dead angles when a blocking save will likely be most appropriate.

History lesson in dead angle play

It's a constant battle of evolution among goalies and shooters . . .

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Greg Revak

Greg Revak is a Certified Level 4 USA Hockey Coach. You can find him on Twitter @CoachRevak. or sign up for his Hockey IQ Newsletter.

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