A breakaway is when you as a player are approaching the goalie with no defensive players in the way. Here are some tips to maximize your chances of scoring in this situation.
Keep up good speed when you are approaching the net. DO NOT give the goalie the opportunity to set up and play you.
You have to decide from two different options: 1) to deke or 2) to shoot!
Move the puck back and forth on your stick. You don’t want to telegraph to the goalie as to whether you are going to shoot or deke. Shifting the puck or carrying it on your forehand side (shooting side) will help hide your intentions. From the side position, you can either shoot or deke. When you are carrying the puck directly in front of you, then the goalie will know you are more likely to deke. You have to keep the goaltender guessing for as long as you can.
Read the goalie—is he playing outside the paint? Is he sitting in the net?
If he is playing outside the paint, then it’s time to deke! Make your move 10 to 15 feet outside the paint. The closer you get to the goalie, the better chance he has to stop you.
Use a good fake. You can either fake that you will go on your forehand side then cut back hard and go on your backhand or fake on your backhand and then cut back to your forehand. Once you have chosen your move, be assertive. This will make the goalie move laterally. If the goalie moves with you and does not give you much room, then move back the other way that you were going to shoot. Your next job is put the puck into the net.
If the goalie is sitting inside his net, then it’s time to SHOOT!
Keep your head up and read the goaltender’s positioning in the net. What is open? Usually there are five areas, the two upper corners, two lower corners and the “five hole” (between the goalies legs). Pick the area that you think is open and SHOOT! A good quick release snap shot works well as the shot is accurate and you can get it off quickly. Make sure you keep your head up so that if the goalie covers your intended target and rebounds the puck, you can then shoot at another area.
If you have nothing to shoot at when you are coming down on the goalie, another great move on a breakaway is a fake shot. Most goalies will either go down or at least move their net. This gives you an opportunity to look for an opening. Most goalies these days play the butterfly style, so if the goaltender goes down, the two top corners will be wide open.
Keep a book on your opposing goalies. Learn their tendencies. Are they a butterfly style? Do they play out of their net? When you keep a pre-scouting log and you do get the chance on a breakaway, you will be more than likely to score the big goal!
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