For hockey enthusiasts, the term 5 Hole is one of the most used terms in the sport. If you’re a newbie to the game or just curious about what it means, this article will help satisfy your curiosity.
The phrase ‘five-hole’ refers to the area on a goaltender’s body where there’s no padding and equipment. A goalie has five primary points of coverage: both sides of their net, above their left shoulder, right shoulder, and between their legs. The fifth point of coverage is located in the groin region, often called the five-hole. It’s a vulnerable opening that can be exploited by shooters aiming low.
“The five hole is commonly the target for shooters trying to score goals, making it crucial to goaltenders.” – Martin Brodeur
This gap between the goalie’s pads is considered a challenging spot to shoot at, but accomplished forwards know how to aim carefully to take advantage of the gap. You’ll notice that shots aimed at the Five Hole are usually taken from inside the slot.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what the 5 Hole is, why it matters, and everything else you need to know about this critical aspect of the game.
Definition of the 5 Hole in Hockey
Hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport that requires great skill and precision. One important aspect of the game is knowing where the “5 hole” is located. The 5 hole refers to the area between a goalie’s legs, specifically the space between the goaltender’s pads, which is thought to be one of the easier areas to score a goal successfully during gameplay.
What is the 5 Hole?
The term “5 hole” is one commonly used within the sport of ice hockey. It refers to the small gap or opening in between a goaltenders’ pads or legs, through which the puck can pass in order to score a goal.
This gap tends to be most visible when a goaltender has their knees bent inward while attempting to block incoming shots from opposing players on offense. Therefore, it is also known as the “between the legs” shot or “five hole” goal.
Where is the 5 Hole located?
The location of the 5 hole is situated right at center mass for goaltenders. This means that if they are unable to close up this opening quickly enough when a player attempts a shot, there is likely a good chance that the puck will go straight through into the goal, ultimately leading to a point being awarded to the other team.
In order to avoid this happening, many goaltenders adopt unique strategies aimed at blocking any incoming shots. Some even have custom padding made specifically for the purpose of better protecting this vulnerable opening.
Why is it called the 5 Hole?
The name “5 hole” actually comes from traditional terminology used to refer to specific areas of a person’s body. In particular, it is based on martial arts practices in which there are five potential points for striking a person.
The 5 hole location for hockey is essentially this same concept, derived from the idea that it represents a strategic area where an attacker can attempt to strike and maximize their chances of scoring a goal.
What is the significance of the 5 Hole in hockey?
The 5 hole shot has become one of many go-to moves or shots used when attempting to score goals during gameplay in hockey. It can come from anywhere on the ice, whether it’s near the boards, centerline, or close-quarters while maintaining possession inside the opponent’s zone.
When taking 5 hole shots, the positioning of the puck is crucial, as aiming too high or low can cause it to hit the pads or miss the mark altogether. In addition, players must keep in mind that goaltenders have adapted over time and have various techniques at their disposal aimed at blocking this specific type of shot.
“A common way goalies protect against the five-hole shot is called ‘butterfly style.’ When they drop to their knees with their feet together and legs spread out, it creates less space between their body and pads” -Jarryd Mercer, USA Today
This particular shot is also sometimes seen as somewhat controversial within the sport of hockey, largely because it requires attacking the weaker areas that exist within a goalie’s defense setup. However, this strategy remains perfectly legal and even encouraged by coaches and others involved in training new generation players, as long as approached with respect and sportsmanship towards other players involved in the game.
Why is the 5 Hole Important in Hockey?
When it comes to ice hockey, the goalie’s job is very important. They are responsible for defending their team’s goal and preventing the opposing team from scoring points. As a result, goalies need to be adept at stopping shots that come their way, especially those aimed at the “5 hole.” But what exactly is the 5 hole in hockey and why is it so important? Let’s explore this topic further.
Creates Scoring Opportunities
The 5 hole refers to the small gap between a goaltender’s pads and underneath them where their stick blade lays. It’s considered an optimal area by goal scorers because they have access to the net when shooting through the space between the goalkeeper’s legs.
A shot taken through the 5 hole has the possibility of being a high percentage scoring opportunity if done correctly. Like all goaltender’s saves, some factors can reduce or eliminate the chance of success. A winger who expects that he will shoot earlier rather than later could utilize the element of surprise, making it hard for the goalie to react while opening up angles that might otherwise close quickly. Accuracy plays an essential role here as the shooter needs to aim precisely and avoid hitting the goalie’s pad, which would prevent the puck from going into the net.
Coaches often incorporate drills that emphasize and improve players used to getting themselves stick blades in the best possible position to take advantage of this quality of the 5 hole. Players must learn to open up the lane to increase the likelihood of putting one goal past the oppositional goalie.
Forces Goalies to React Quickly
The 5 hole forces the goalkeeper to make quick decisions and results in more reaction time. The sequence happens within seconds, and the goalie must not only anticipate where the puck is heading, but make a decision on how to block it. They need to observe whether or not they’ll have time to move their pads together while making space big enough to reinforce the legs down low.
Clearly, this means that reacting with patience and precision holds more significance than quick reflexes. Skilled goaltenders can still prevent the puck from entering even if they don’t realize there’s an opportunity for someone to shoot through them until it’s almost too late.
Can Change the Momentum of the Game
The implications of the 5 hole shot go beyond advancing your team’s scoreboard by one goal. It also has a psychological effect: when scored against, teams usually feel frustrated as the shooter found a way to penetrate arguably one of the toughest positions in hockey successfully.
“No player wants to concede goals,” ex-Canadian NHL defensemen Kris Letang once said. “But we know in hockey; it happens every game.”
When players genuinely believe that taking a few attempts could potentially score them a goal, this provides a significant boost to their confidence level. Conversely, allowing such shots encourages defensives to change strategies and put more pressure on attackers. This cycle inevitably negatively affects overall team morale, particularly towards the end of regulation time. Therefore it becomes important every time creating potential five-hole opportunities arise throughout the entirety of a game.
The 5 hole is a critical aspect of ice hockey due to its ability to create scoring opportunities, force goalies to react quickly, and change the momentum of games. Both attackers and defenders understand the value of shooting (or blocking) through this area because of the huge impact it can have on the outcome of a game. By focusing on improving skillsets required to think ahead as well as gain the ability to shoot accurately, players will improve their opportunities when aiming for a goalpost.
How Players Aim for the 5 Hole
The “5 hole” is a term used in hockey to refer to the space between the goalie’s legs. It’s one of the most difficult areas for goalies to protect since it’s an opening they have to cover with their pads, which can create angles that are vulnerable to skilled players.
To score through the 5 hole, players often use deception techniques to fool the goaltender into thinking they’re going to shoot somewhere else. One common tactic is the fake shot, where the player winds up as if going for the upper corner but then quickly releases a low shot through the 5 hole while the goalie is still reacting to the initial movement.
“The key for me is the deception,” says NHL forward and two-time Stanley Cup champion Brad Richards. “You’ve got to make the goalie think you’re shooting somewhere else so he opens up his legs, and then slide it right under.”
Another deceptive method players might use is the toe drag, where they pull the puck back towards themselves before making a quick snap shot through the 5 hole.
Timing and Accuracy
While deceit can certainly play a big role in scoring through the 5 hole, timing and accuracy are also important factors. As the game speed increases, players only have fractions of a second to react and take advantage of each opportunity.
This is why many coaches stress the importance of practicing shots on goal until they become almost automatic. They encourage their players to look for situations where the goalie may be out of position or not covering the 5 hole well and to aim for that spot without hesitation.
“It’s about being able to see exactly what the angle is, and knowing your foot placement, and knowing that you’re going to get the puck off your stick as fast as possible,” says NHL forward Jeff Carter.
It’s worth noting that aiming for the 5 hole isn’t always the best option. Sometimes a quick shot going high or lateral can catch a goalie off guard. This is why players need to be aware of their surroundings and able to adjust their shooting strategy on the fly depending on the situation.
Scoring through the 5 hole requires skill, precision, and adaptability. Successful players know how to use deception techniques to create openings in seemingly impossible situations, but they also rely on good timing and accurate shots to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise.
Strategies for Defending the 5 Hole
Stick and Pad Positioning
The five-hole in hockey refers to the area between a goaltender’s legs that can be exploited by an offensive player to score a goal. To defend against it, one of the most important strategies is proper stick and pad positioning. A goalie should hold their stick correctly so that the blade covers as much space between their legs as possible. The butt end of the stick should remain tight against the body while the blade is angled towards the ice with a slight tilt to the inside.
The pads also play a significant role in defending the five-hole. A well-positioned pad will seal off any gaps beneath a goalie’s legs, preventing pucks from going through. When a goalie goes down into a butterfly position, they must ensure that their leg pads are tightly pressed against each other in the middle to block the hole effectively.
“The five-hole is something I really focus on during every game. Proper stick and pad positioning go hand in hand when it comes to closing off the gap.” – Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
In addition to stick and pad positioning, body positioning is another crucial strategy to employ when defending against the five-hole. Goalies must maintain a centered stance and keep their weight balanced over both legs. They should be square to the shooter at all times, keeping their chest out in front of the net. If a goaltender leans too far forward or backward, they risk opening up more space in the five-hole.
When a shot is coming directly at them, the goaltender should use their hands and arms to perform a “glove save” or a “blocker save” rather than just dropping to the butterfly. This technique makes it easier to control rebounds and prevents pucks from sneaking through the five-hole.
“As a goalie, proper body positioning is essential to stop shots through the five-hole. Staying centered and square to the shooter helps me prevent goals on almost every occasion.” – Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Anticipating the Shot
A key element of defending against the five-hole is anticipating the shot. It’s important for goaltenders to keep their eyes on the puck at all times. They should study an opponent’s tendencies to determine where they’re likely to shoot during certain situations. A good goalie must also be aware of the positions of their defensemen, and adjust accordingly to make sure that there are no gaps in coverage. When in doubt, it’s always better to over-anticipate and close the five-hole too early than to leave it open by reacting too late.
Pre-shot preparation is another crucial aspect of anticipatory movement and guarding the 5 hole. Goalies should scan the ice before every faceoff or set play to get a better understanding of what could happen next. By predicting passing lanes, screening opportunities, or high-risk areas on the ice, a goalie can avoid being caught off-guard by a sudden attack to the five-hole.
“Read and react ability makes Goaltending as mentally challenging as its physical challenges. Anticipation is Everything” – Martin Brodeur, former NHL standout
Communication with Defensemen
The importance of communication cannot be overstated when it comes to defending against the five-hole. The goalie must have clear lines of communication with their defensemen regarding defensive zone coverages, line changes, and gameplay strategy. If defensemen understand which portion of the net the goaltender has locked down, they can position themselves accordingly and cut off any passing lanes or scoring opportunities. They can also help to dig out rebounds and eliminate second-chance opportunities.
Communication from the goalie should continue throughout the game, as it’s critical for efficiency in keeping the opponent’s offense from exploiting any space opened wide enough to sneak a puck through the 5 hole on rush attacks. Communication allows for more fluid coverage switches and ensures that there is always someone covering a dangerous part of the ice, even if the goaltender seems vulnerable at times.
“Having good communication with my defensemen helps me defend against the five holes mainly by providing defensive support around the net. We discuss situations like odd-man rushes and other particular areas where opponents exploit chances.” – Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida PanthersIn conclusion, preventing goals scored in the five-hole requires goalies to position themselves effectively using their sticks, pads, and body. Anticipation is essential, and clear communication between goaltenders and defensemen enhances coverage while ensuring all possible gaps within the five hole are patched up firmly. By combining these strategies and executing them correctly, goaltenders can effectively nullify the opposition’s ability to score through this vulnerable area.
Famous Goals Scored Through the 5 Hole
Hockey is a fast-paced and dynamic game that requires players to possess excellent stickhandling skills, tactical abilities, great skating speed, and accurate shooting. Playing as an attacker against a vigilant goalkeeper, players often have few options to score a goal besides precisely directing the puck through one of the several gaps in the goaltender’s guarding movements, known as ‘openings.’ One such opening that experienced forwards know how to exploit effectively is called the “five-hole”.
The 5 hole refers to the space between the goalie’s legs when they are closed or developing towards closing, leaving a bit of room for attackers’ shots right at their feet. When used efficiently, this skillful technique can lead to some fantastic and iconic hockey goals. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous ones:
Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup-Winning Goal
“Orr takes it on the left point… now he’s over the line… Orr gets set, he SCORES! Bobby Orr! The Bruins win the Stanley Cup!” -Dan Kelly
Regarded by many as the greatest defenseman ever to play the game, Bobby Orr scored perhaps the most dramatic and memorable goal in NHL history during Game Four of the 1970 Finals, against the St. Louis Blues. In overtime, #4 flew toward Glenn Hall and flicked the puck along his pads into the fivehole while diving Superman-style across the crease. After scoring the winner, Orr sprawled on the ice in celebration, creating a lasting image of pure joy that has become one of hockey’s most enduring images.
Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal in the 2010 Olympics
“The golden goal, Canada, the Olympic champions!”-Jim Hughson
Team Canada won the gold medal in men’s hockey at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics thanks to a legendary performance by their captain and prodigy Sidney Crosby. In overtime against the United States, during one of the most critical matches ever played on Canadian soil, Crosby took a pass from Jarome Iginla and shot the puck through Ryan Miller’s fivehole as he fell to his knees, securing the championship medal for his country. The moment was so intense and memorable that it is now simply known as “the golden goal”. It also confirmed “Sid the Kid” as one of the game’s brightest stars.
Paul Henderson’s Goal to Win the 1972 Summit Series
“He shoots!… He scores!!!”-Foster Hewitt
The 1972 Summit Series remains one of the greatest moments in hockey history when Team Canada faced off against the USSR’s best players. In the closing seconds of the last contest, Paul Henderson beat the Soviet goalie, Vladislav Tretiak, shooting right between his legs with less than a minute remaining, creating an iconic image of Henderson leaping high into the air, fists clenched in triumph. Despite the patriotic fervour this series created across Canada, it arguably did more than just cement hockey as Canada’s national sport – it catalyzed much-needed improvements in Russian society. Shortly after the defeat, USSR authorities began loosening long-standing bureaucratic restrictions on travel, citizenship status, international trade, foreign investment, and freedom of expression, ultimately leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union nineteen years later.
Wayne Gretzky’s 802nd Career Goal
“Gretzky had daylight and he shot it through the pads. That’s relentless pursuit of mastery.”-Mike Emrick
Widely regarded as the greatest player in NHL history, Wayne Gretzky accomplished many impressive feats throughout his career. However, one goal stands out as particularly significant – his 802nd regular-season score that broke Gordie Howe’s record of 801 and cemented his status as hockey’s most iconic legend. In March 1994, playing for the Los Angeles Kings against the Vancouver Canucks, Gretzky scored an unremarkable-looking marker by barely squeezing the puck through Kirk McLean’s legs from close range. Although hardly a spectacular effort compared to some of his other highlights, this understated moment immortalized The Great One as the undisputed king of scoring.
The fivehole technique has been used by countless players worldwide to weave magic into their game and produce mesmerizing goals. From Bobby Orr’s legacy-defining shorthanded overtime strike, Sidney Crosby’s thrilling golden goal at the Olympics, Paul Henderson’s defining national team contribution, to Wayne Gretzky’s clinical breaking of records, these examples demonstrate the enduring power of this dynamic hockey skill. For young players aspiring to join their ranks someday, the fivehole is a technique worth mastering. Who knows, they might even create a similar legacy in the game and leave us with memories forever etched into our collective hockey consciousness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 5 hole in hockey?
The 5 hole in hockey is the area between a goalie’s legs when they are in a standing position. It is called the 5 hole because it is the fifth opening a shooter has to try and score a goal.
Why is the 5 hole important for goalies to defend?
The 5 hole is important for goalies to defend because it is one of the most common areas that players try to shoot the puck to score a goal. If a goalie can effectively block shots through the 5 hole, they can greatly increase their chances of stopping goals.
How can players take advantage of the 5 hole to score goals?
Players can take advantage of the 5 hole to score goals by shooting the puck quickly and accurately between the goalie’s legs. They can also try to fake out the goalie by deking or making a move to get the goalie to open up their legs, creating an opportunity to shoot through the 5 hole.
What techniques can goalies use to block shots coming through the 5 hole?
Goalies can use a variety of techniques to block shots coming through the 5 hole, such as butterfly positioning, where they drop down to their knees and bring their legs together to create a barrier. They can also use their stick to cover the 5 hole or angle their body in a way that makes it harder for shooters to find a clear shot.
Are there any rule changes or strategies that affect the use of the 5 hole in modern hockey?
There have been no major rule changes that affect the use of the 5 hole in modern hockey, but strategies and techniques for defending against it have evolved over time. Goalies and players are constantly adapting and improving their skills to try and gain an advantage on the ice.