Breakaway Backhander

I've been working on my backhanded shot for a while now (maybe two years?), but more earnestly over the past few weeks. There are two main scenarios in which I want to use it: (1) on breakaways, where I come down the left side, cross in front of the crease, and flip the puck into the net (I'm a left-handed shot playing Left Wing), and (2) on faceoffs in the offensive zone when I'm lined up on the goal-side hashmarks. The idea in scenario #2 is to grab the puck and flip it into the net from a standstill.

I've had some success with both scenarios—but especially #1—while practicing by myself during warm-ups, and a couple times while skating against goalies during practice or pickups, but I haven't gotten a good backhander off in a game. (I did score a goal in an almost #1 scenario when I first joined the Freeze in 2006, but if I remember correctly, I just knocked it in five-hole rather than trying to lift the puck over a sliding goalie.)

Part of the reason I hadn't really tried it is that I haven't had that many opportunities, and also because I'm somewhat inconsistent with this shot. I probably fling half my shots hard and high into the back of the net; about a third of them never leave the ice or only come up a few inches; and the remainder fly over the crossbar and into the glass.

In our last game (or my last game, I should say, since I missed the team's last game due to a sick Beaner), I spent several minutes during the warmup working on the backhander with about the same success percentage as usual. Without a goalie in the net, however, I wasn't sure how successful those shots would really be in a game. I decided that if I had a chance in this game, I'd find out.

Answer: Not very—at least in this case, where I didn't get the shot nearly high enough. I'd totally try it again, though (and I'll also keep the fake-deke in my mental toolbox, since a last-minute decision *not* to cross over and backhand the puck worked against a guy goalie in a pickup game this past summer—probably because the backhander had worked the first time. :-).

Posted by Lori in Freeze ~ Fall/Winter 2008 | December 28, 2008·06:29 PM