What is a Short Handed Goal in Hockey?

A short handed goal in hockey refers to scoring a goal while a team has fewer players on the ice due to a penalty. Short-handed goals are a rare feat, but can be game-changers in a hockey match.

Hockey is a high-energy game that requires quick thinking and strategic moves in order to score against the opposing team. A short handed goal in hockey refers to a goal that is scored by a team when they have fewer players on the ice than their opponents.

This usually occurs when a player from the opposing team is sent to the penalty box, either because of a minor or major penalty. During this time, the team with more players takes advantage of their powerplay status, and tries to convert such situations into scoring opportunities. However, in some rare circumstances, the team with less players gets the upper hand and scores a goal. A short handed goal in hockey is a unique and exciting event that can quickly shift momentum in a game.

What is a Short Handed Goal in Hockey?

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Short Handed Goals: An Overview

When it comes to ice hockey, there are many different terms to keep in mind. One of the most important is a “short-handed goal. ” But what exactly does this term mean? We’ll take a closer look at short-handed goals in hockey, exploring their definition, differences from power play goals, and importance in the sport.

Definition Of A Short-Handed Goal In Hockey

A short-handed goal occurs when a team scores a goal while they are down one or more players due to a penalty. In other words, the team is “short-handed” when it scores. Short-handed goals can be big momentum changers in a game, as they can give the team a boost of confidence and deflate the opposing team.

Difference Between A Short-Handed Goal And A Power Play Goal

While short-handed goals occur when a team is down one or more players, power play goals happen when a team has a player advantage due to an opposing player being penalized. Therefore, power play goals are scored while the team is on a power play, while short-handed goals are scored while the team is shorthanded.

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Importance Of Short-Handed Goals In Hockey

Short-handed goals are crucial for several reasons. For one, they can shift the momentum of a game and give a team the boost it needs to come back from a deficit. Additionally, shorthanded goals can be a sign of a team’s resilience, showing that they can still be competitive even when playing at a disadvantage.

Short-handed goals can also help a team gain confidence and motivation, which can carry over to the rest of the game or future matchups.

So there you have it – a closer look at short-handed goals in hockey. Next time you’re watching a game, keep an eye out for these important plays and their impact on the game.

How A Short Handed Goal Is Scored

The Circumstances That Lead To A Short-Handed Situation

A short-handed situation in hockey results when one team has fewer players on the ice than the other, usually due to a penalty or penalties. A team’s player is sent to the penalty box for a predetermined amount of time when they commit a violation or misconduct according to the official rules of the game.

Typically, the time for minor offenses is two minutes, for major offenses, it is five minutes, and for misconduct, it can vary. A player must serve a full sentence in the penalty box, which includes time spent off the ice.

Teams can also get a short-handed situation when their players are injured, or if they pull out their goalie to make a last-ditch effort to score while behind in a game.

Strategies Used By Teams When Playing Short-Handed

When playing short-handed, teams strive to prevent the opposing team from scoring by utilizing specific strategies. Some of them are:

  • Tight defensive play: Short-handed teams position themselves defensively and prioritize clearing the puck out of their zone as quickly as possible.
  • Choosing opportunities to attack: While it may appear counterintuitive, a short-handed team could attack when an opportunity arises, usually if the other team makes an error or takes longer than usual to reset.
  • Forcing the power play team to the outside: By forcing the power play team to stay on the perimeter of the ice, the short-handed team minimizes the chance of them scoring.
  • Applying pressure: Short-handed teams can apply pressure on the power play team to disrupt their set play and possibly create a turnover in their favor.

Opportunities To Capitalize On Mistakes Made By The Opposing Team

When playing short-handed, teams have limited opportunities to capitalize on the opposing team’s errors. Some of these include:

  • Blocking shots: Short-handed teams can block shots, creating a chance to gain control of the puck and take it up the ice.
  • Forcing turnovers: By pressuring the power play team, a short-handed team could force them to make an error, either leading to a turnover or an unsuccessful scoring attempt.
  • Drawing a penalty: If a power play team fouls a short-handed player, they are awarded a penalty shot. This is a high-risk, high-reward opportunity for the short-handed team as they get a chance to score without any penalty to themselves.
  • Utilizing speed: Short-handed teams can use their speed to create a breakaway, either through a well-timed pass or stealing the puck from the opposing team.
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Overall, a short-handed goal is a significant accomplishment in hockey, and scoring one requires teamwork, skill, and an element of luck. Teams must be cautious in avoiding penalties that lead to a short-handed situation while also seizing opportunities to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes.

Notable Short-Handed Goals In Hockey History

Scoring a goal in hockey is always exciting, but a short-handed goal can be a game-changer. In this section, we will explore some examples of memorable short-handed goals in the nhl, the impact of a short-handed goal on momentum and team morale, and the significance of specific short-handed goals.

Examples Of Memorable Short-Handed Goals In The Nhl

  • Mario lemieux’s hat-trick goal in the 1991 prince of wales conference finals against the boston bruins, which helped the pittsburgh penguins advance to the stanley cup finals.
  • Pavel datsyuk’s unassisted goal in the 2008 western conference finals against the dallas stars, where he stole the puck and scored a beautiful backhand goal.
  • John madden’s goal in the third period of game 6 of the 2003 stanley cup final against the anaheim ducks, which secured the new jersey devils their third championship in nine years.

Impact Of A Short-Handed Goal On Momentum And Team Morale

  • A short-handed goal can shift the momentum of a game in a team’s favor, energizing the players and the fans.
  • The penalty-killing unit gains confidence and pride from stopping the other team’s powerplay, which can improve team morale.
  • A short-handed goal can demoralize the opposing team, causing them to doubt themselves and lose focus.

Analysis Of The Significance Of Specific Short-Handed Goals

  • Lemieux’s hat-trick goal in 1991 not only helped the penguins advance to the stanley cup finals but also solidified his status as one of the best players of all time.
  • Datsyuk’s unassisted goal in 2008 showcased his incredible skills as a two-way player and helped propel the detroit red wings to their fourth stanley cup in 11 years.
  • Madden’s goal in 2003 secured the devils their third championship in nine years and marked the end of scott stevens’ legendary career.

Short-handed goals can be game-changing moments in a high-stakes sport like hockey. Not only can they shift the momentum of a game, but they can also have long-lasting effects on a player’s legacy and a team’s success.

Indicators Of A Successful Short-Handed Team

Characteristics Of A Team That Excels At Short-Handed Situations

Short-handed situations in hockey occur when a team is down one or more players due to penalties. A successful short-handed team possesses several key characteristics that set them apart from others. Here are some of the key characteristics of a team that excels at short-handed situations:

  • Aggressive forechecking: A team must have players who are willing to attack their opponents aggressively when they have the puck. This approach disrupts the opponents’ offense and can often result in turnovers, which can lead to scoring opportunities for the short-handed team.
  • Solid defensive structure: A team must also have a strong defensive structure when they are short-handed. This structure includes effective positioning, stick work, and body contact to prevent their opponents from getting into scoring areas.
  • Strong communication: Good communication is vital for a short-handed team. Players must be able to communicate quickly and effectively to cover defensive assignments and anticipate their opponents’ movements.
  • Speed and skill: Short-handed teams must have players who are fast and skilled on the ice. When down a player, a team generally has to move faster to compensate and play a more technical game to succeed.
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Statistical Measures Used To Evaluate Short-Handed Success

Hockey is a game of statistics, and several metrics can evaluate a team’s short-handed success. Below are some of the most commonly used statistical measures to evaluate short-handed success:

  • Penalty kill percentage: Penalty kill percentage is the percentage of penalties a team successfully kills off. The higher the penalty kill percentage (over 80% is considered high), the more successful the team is at short-handed situations.
  • Shots allowed: Shots allowed refers to the number of shots faced by the short-handed team. If a team allows fewer shots while short-handed, it indicates that they have a solid defensive structure.
  • Goals against average: Goals against average is the average number of goals a team concedes when playing short-handed. A low average indicates that the team is strong defensively.

Examples Of Teams With A Strong Short-Handed Record

Several nhl teams have a strong short-handed record as they have excelled in killing off penalties. Here are some examples:

  • Boston bruins: In the 2018-19 season, the boston bruins had a penalty kill percentage of 79.9%, which ranked them third in the nhl.
  • Arizona coyotes: In the 2019-20 season, the arizona coyotes allowed the third-fewest shots against while short-handed with 143.
  • Nashville predators: The nashville predators had the best penalty kill percentage in the nhl in the 2017-18 season with 82.1%.

A team’s success in short-handed situations depends on many factors. Teams with a solid defensive structure, strong communication, speed and skill, and other key characteristics are more likely to succeed. The statistical measures, such as penalty kill percentage, shots allowed, and goals against average, can also help evaluate a team’s success while short-handed.

[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions Of What Is A Short Handed Goal In Hockey?

What Is A Short-Handed Goal In Hockey?

A short-handed goal in hockey is scored by a team who is down a player due to a penalty. It occurs when a player on the disadvantaged team scores a goal against the team with power play on the ice.

How Is A Short-Handed Goal Scored?

A short-handed goal in hockey is scored when a player from the team killing penalty scores the goal against the team with a power play. The goal is scored by taking the puck past the opposing goalie into the net, resulting in a goal.

Why Is A Short-Handed Goal Considered Special?

Short-handed goals in hockey are considered special because they are scored while a team is down a player. It requires a lot of skill, speed, and strategy to score a goal when there are fewer players on the ice.


As we have learned, a short-handed goal in hockey refers to a goal scored by a team while they have fewer players on the ice due to a penalty. These goals require quick thinking, precision, and excellent teamwork, making them a highlight of any game.

Although short-handed goals are less common than even-strength or power-play goals, they can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game. By preventing the opposing team from scoring during a penalty and scoring a goal themselves, a team can shift the momentum of the game in their favor.

Adding a short-handed goal to a player’s achievement list is a great accomplishment and a testament to their skill and agility on the ice. Whether you are a die-hard hockey fan or just starting to learn about the sport, understanding the concept of a short-handed goal can greatly enhance your appreciation of the game.

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