What is a Short-Handed Goal? The Ultimate Guide.

A short-handed goal in hockey occurs when a team scores while they are playing with fewer players than their opponent. A team can be short-handed if they have a player in the penalty box or if their goalie has been pulled for an extra attacker.

Short-handed goals can be a game-changer, as they are often unexpected and can shift the momentum in favor of the team that scores. The NHL (national hockey league) defines a short-handed goal as “a goal scored by a team while it is at least one man short of its opponent.

” Short-handed goals are not common occurrences in hockey, as they require a team to successfully defend against their opponent while down a player. However, when they do happen, they can be some of the most exciting moments in the game. In this article, we will take a closer look at short-handed goals in hockey, including some noteworthy examples from nhl history.

What is a Short-Handed Goal

Understanding The Basics Of A Short-Handed Goal

Defining A Short-Handed Goal

A Short-Handed Goal Occurs When A Team Scores A Goal While They Are Playing With Fewer Players Than Their Opponents Due To A Penalty. For Example, If One Team Has A Player In The Penalty Box And The Other Team Scores A Goal, It’S Counted As A Short-Handed Goal.

How A Short-Handed Goal Is Different From A Regular Goal

Short-Handed Goals Differ From Regular Goals In Several Ways, Including:

  • A short-handed goal is scored when a team is playing with fewer players due to a penalty, while a regular goal is scored with both teams having equal numbers of players on the ice.
  • A short-handed goal is considered a rare achievement because the team is at a disadvantage, making it more challenging to score.
  • Scoring a short-handed goal can shift the momentum of the game and give the team a psychological edge.

Statistics On Short-Handed Goals

The Frequency Of Short-Handed Goals Varies From Season To Season. Nevertheless, There Have Been Notable Achievements In Recent History:

  • During the 2018-19 nhl season, the boston bruins scored 15 short-handed goals, the most in a single season in the league’s history.
  • Wayne Gretzky, widely considered one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time, holds the record for most career short-handed goals with 73.
  • In the 2004-05 NHL season, which was canceled due to a lockout, there were 132 short-handed goals scored in the 1,230 games played that season.

Understanding the basics of a short-handed goal is essential for ice hockey fans who want to truly appreciate the nuances of the game. Though statistically rare, a short-handed goal can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game and is a remarkable feat for any team or player.

How Is A Short-Handed Goal Scored?

Explaining The Power-Play And Penalty Kill Systems

Before diving into how a short-handed goal is scored, it’s worthwhile explaining how a team qualifies for a power play or penalty kill in ice hockey. If a player from one team breaks a rule, they will spend 2 minutes in the penalty box while their team plays on with one fewer player.

Conversely, if a player from the opposing team breaks a rule, the other team will receive the advantage of having an extra player on the ice. This power-play system is beneficial to the team as they have more chances to score a goal than their opponents, while the penalty-kill system requires the penalized team to minimize the damage caused by the power play.

Analyzing The Role Of The Goaltender In A Short-Handed Goal

The goaltender has a critical role when it comes to preventing the opponent from scoring in a power play. By constantly moving and positioning themselves in front of the net, the goaltender tries to protect it and stop the puck from going in.

Additionally, goaltenders must anticipate when the players of the opposite team would take a shot. In the context of a short-handed goal, if a goaltender makes a save, they can launch the puck right away and potentially create a breakaway to score a goal.

Techniques And Strategies Used By Players To Score A Short-Handed Goal

Getting a short-handed goal requires a combination of skill, strategy, and luck. Below are some of the techniques and strategies used by ice hockey players to score a short-handed goal:

  • Stealing the puck: Players must try to steal the puck from the player on the opposing team who has it. By doing so, they can get an opportunity to score a breakaway goal.
  • Blocking shooting lanes: Players on the penalized team must put themselves in the shooting lanes to block shots from the opposition.
  • Creating odd-man rushes: Players that are short-handed should be extra-cautious and find the right time to go on the offense. By creating odd-man rushes, they can take advantage of a power play and potentially score a goal.
  • Capitalizing on turnovers: Players can create an opportunity by anticipating bad passes or turnovers made by their opponents. If successful, they can potentially score a breakaway goal.

A short-handed goal requires not just skill and strategy but also a bit of luck. The best players capitalize on the opportunities available and have a strong understanding of the game’s fundamentals.

Benefits Of Scoring A Short-Handed Goal

A short-handed goal is a rare yet remarkable feat in ice hockey. When a team scores a goal while short-handed, not only is they one player short on the ice, but they are also killing a penalty, making the goal even more impressive.

In this section, we will explore the benefits of scoring a short-handed goal for the team that achieved it.

Momentum Shift For The Short-Handed Team

Scoring a short-handed goal can bring a significant momentum shift for the team. It can change the tone of the game and invigorate the players on the ice. Suddenly, they are no longer just trying to kill a penalty and keep the opposition from scoring.

Instead, they are now on the attack and trying to score themselves. This change in mindset can be a huge boost for the team’s morale and can ultimately lead to more success on the ice.

  • It can shift the momentum of the game and create a more positive playing atmosphere.
  • The short-handed team is no longer just focusing on defense but also on offense.

Psychological Impact On The Opposing Team

A short-handed goal can also have a significant psychological impact on the opposing team. Not only have they just been scored on, but they were scored on while on the power play. This can cause them to second-guess themselves and their game plan.

They may start to feel like they missed an opportunity and begin to push themselves too hard, making mistakes and taking unnecessary risks. This can lead to further turnovers and even more opportunities for the short-handed team.

  • The opposing team may start to feel frustrated or discouraged after being scored on while having the man advantage.
  • It can cause the opposing team to second-guess their own ability to score.

Boosting Confidence Of Players And Team Morale

Scoring a short-handed goal can also be a huge confidence booster for the players and the team as a whole. It shows that they are capable of achieving great things even when they are at a disadvantage. This can lead to increased confidence on the ice and a greater desire to succeed.

It can also help to build team morale and foster a sense of camaraderie and unity amongst the players.

  • Scoring a short-handed goal can be a confidence booster for the player who scored it, as well as for the entire team.
  • It can help to build a sense of camaraderie and unity amongst the players.

Scoring a short-handed goal is a remarkable achievement that can bring many benefits to the team that achieved it. It can create a momentum shift, have a psychological impact on the opposing team, and boost confidence and team morale. It shows that the team is capable of achieving great things, even when they are at a disadvantage.

So, it is always a special moment in any hockey game and one that is worth celebrating.

Mistakes To Avoid When Attempting A Short-Handed Goal

Short-handed goals are some of the most exciting plays that can occur during a hockey game. These goals are scored while a team is down one or more players due to penalties. When executed well, a short-handed goal can shift momentum and lead to a team’s victory.

However, attempting a short-handed goal can be risky and lead to costly mistakes if not done correctly. In this guide, we will take a closer look at common mistakes to avoid when attempting a short-handed goal, including: overcommitting and leaving the defense vulnerable, not taking advantage of opportunities, and getting too aggressive and taking penalties.

Overcommitting And Leaving The Defense Vulnerable

Overcommitting is a common mistake that can occur when a team attempts a short-handed goal. This happens when the players get so focused on attempting the goal that they lose track of their defensive responsibilities. As a result, they leave their defense vulnerable to a counterattack from the opposing team, which can lead to a score.

To avoid overcommitting, it is essential to communicate and work together as a team. The players should stay within their defensive positions and avoid chasing the puck. Instead, they should focus on disrupting the opposing team’s passing and shooting options while waiting for a chance to attack.

Not Taking Advantage Of Opportunities

Not taking advantage of opportunities is another mistake to avoid when attempting a short-handed goal. Sometimes, opportunities to score will present themselves, but the players will be too hesitant to take the shot. As a result, the team misses the chance to score.

To avoid this mistake, the players should be prepared to take the shot when they see an opportunity. They should be confident in their abilities and trust their instincts when deciding to shoot or pass the puck. It is better to take the shot and miss than to never take the shot at all.

Getting Too Aggressive And Taking Penalties

Getting too aggressive is a common mistake when attempting a short-handed goal. Sometimes the players will get too aggressive in their attempt to steal the puck from the opposing team. This can lead to unnecessary penalties and put the team at a further disadvantage.

To avoid this mistake, the players should remain disciplined and avoid taking unnecessary risks. They should focus on playing their defensive role and waiting for an opportunity to attack. If the opposing team makes a mistake, the players can then capitalize on the opportunity to score.

Attempting a short-handed goal can be a risky but rewarding play. By avoiding common mistakes such as overcommitting, not taking advantage of opportunities, and getting too aggressive, a team can increase their chances of success. By working together, being confident, and remaining disciplined, a short-handed goal can shift momentum and lead to a team’s victory.

Famous Short-Handed Goals In Hockey

Discussing Some Of The Most Famous Short-Handed Goals In Professional Hockey History

Short-handed goals in ice hockey are one of the most exciting and memorable moments in the history of the sport. These goals occur when a team’s player is serving a penalty, and the opposing player successfully scores a goal. Here we discuss some of the most famous short-handed goals in professional hockey history:

  • Wayne Gretzky’s goal in the 1983 all-star Game: The great one himself, wayne gretzky, scored a famous short-handed goal during the 1983 all-star game. Gretzky stole the puck from the Campbell Conference and scored a beautiful breakaway goal that showcased his speed and skill.
  • Steve Yzerman’s goal in the 2002 playoffs: Steve Yzerman’s goal against the St. Louis Blues in the 2002 playoffs was a turning point in the series. Yzerman took the puck and weaved through the Blues’ defense before scoring to tie the game. This goal gave the red wings the momentum they needed to win the series.
  • Mario Lemieux’s goal in the 1992 Stanley Cup finals: In game 2 of the 1992 Stanley Cup finals, mario lemieux scored a breakaway goal against the chicago blackhawks. This goal showcased Lemieux’s incredible speed and skill and helped to inspire the penguins to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Analyzing Techniques Used By Players To Score These Goals

Short-handed goals require great skill and strategy, and the best players use a variety of techniques to score them. Here are some of the most effective techniques used by players to score short-handed goals:

  • Quick thinking and anticipation: Short-handed goals often result from a player’s ability to read the play and anticipate the opponent’s next move. This requires quick thinking and excellent reaction times.
  • Speed and agility: Short-handed goals often come from players who possess great speed and agility. These players are able to outmaneuver the opponent’s defense and create breakaway opportunities.
  • A killer instinct: Scoring a short-handed goal requires a certain level of aggression and a willingness to take risks. Players with a killer instinct are more likely to score these types of goals.
  • Strong defensive play: It may seem counterintuitive, but strong defensive play is often the key to scoring short-handed goals. Defenders who are able to break up plays and quickly transition to the offense can create scoring opportunities for their team.

Understanding The Impact These Goals Had On The Game

Short-handed goals can have a huge impact on the outcome of a game and are often a turning point in a series. These goals can swing momentum in a team’s favor and inspire them to play at their best. They can also demoralize the opposing team and create doubt in their minds.

The impact of a short-handed goal can be felt long after the game has ended, and can often change the course of a season.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Is A Short-Handed Goal In Hockey

What Is A Short-Handed Goal In Hockey?

A short-handed goal means scoring in a power-play disadvantage, giving a team advantage against opponents.

How Is A Short-Handed Goal Scored?

Short-handed goals occur when a team is down a player during a penalty kill and scores.

What Strategies Are Used For Short-Handed Goals?

The team without a power-play advantage in short-handed goals focuses on defense and quick attacks toward their opposition.


So, that’s everything you need to know about short-handed goals in hockey. Not only have we defined the term, but we’ve also explored some of the key strategies and considerations that come into play. Whether you’re an experienced player or a newcomer to the sport, gaining a solid understanding of short-handed goals will help you to improve your game and make the most of every opportunity.

Remember, these goals require a unique set of skills and tactics, including strong defensive play and the ability to capitalize on fast breaks and counterattacks. With these skills at your fingertips, you’ll be well-positioned to help your team win more games and take your game to the next level.

So next time you hear the crowd roar when a short-handed goal is scored, you’ll know exactly what’s going on and why it matters so much.


Hi, myself Adam John a professional athlete. I love to see sports and always want to find out sports-related all news on my blog. I wish this blog gives you all types of sports news.

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