As part of our Tuesday Trickshot column, we take a look at goals scored by deflected shots. Whether in the NHL, minors or junior leagues, teams consistently practice tip drills. This helps them improve hand-eye coordination, while also helping the goalie improve his/her vision of the incoming shot. Deflected shots are also some of the hardest to save – and can be incredibly frustrating for goalies on both ends of the ice.

Tip Drills

Tip drills are good drills for “power play” practices. In these drills, the corner player passes the puck to the defenseman at the point. He or she then passes the puck to his/her defensive partner in the middle of the ice. The most important aspect of this drill is to watch the shot coming from the point. In tip drills, the puck usually hits the net, which gives the forwards a chance to tip it in. However, forwards must be prepared for a rebound as well. While some tip drills differ, it is always a good idea to add defensemen down low. Their job, of course, is to try and tie up the sticks, while making sure the goalie has a clear view of the incoming shot.

Take a look at this video about tip drills in hockey.

Here is a tip drills practice video in junior hockey.

Tips and Deflections

When it comes to the perfect tip in, the defensemen shooting the puck must keep it on the ice. It is very difficult to tip the puck in if it’s too high in the air. Secondly, the offensive player (forward) tipping in the puck must have a low center of gravity. Lastly, he/she must be positioned in front of the goalie to block his/her view and keep the stick on the ice. This is called screening and makes it difficult for the goalie to make a save on a tip or deflection.

Frustrated Goalies

No matter how talented a goalie is, he or she cannot stop what they cannot see. This is the rule of thumb for anyone practicing tip drills and deflections. As you know, a deflection is simply a shot that changes direction. This happens when the puck makes contact with a player, stick or skate. Deflections and/or tips make up a significant number of goals in hockey on all levels. However, deflected shots are the most difficult and frustrating to stop or save for goalies. This includes the icon and legend, Martin Brodeur, who was always perplexed by these unexpected trajectories of the puck. Like other goalies, Brodeur did not have a solution for deflections. His only response was to “expect the unexpected.”

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