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Ice Hockey Pulling The Goalie

When a team is behind in goals in the final minutes of a game, they may pull the goalie for an extra skater. Get ready to learn about pulling the goalie in ice hockey.


We've already learned about hockey teams and how many players are on the ice during a game. There are five (5) skaters and one (1) goalie at all times on the ice during a game unless a team is short-handed from a power play.

In this tutorial, we will learn about pulling the goalie and why it is a sometimes an effective end game strategy in ice hockey.

Pulling The Goalie

If a team is losing in the 3rd period and there is not much time left on the game clock, they may decide to pull the goalie off the ice for an additional skater. This strategy is called pulling the goalie.

Hockey Goalie

When To Pull The Goalie?

A team usually won't pull the goalie unless it is a last resort because it leaves the net vulnerable to an easy goal. As a fan you won't see this strategy used until the final few minutes of the game.

Deciding To Pull The Goalie

The manager will take the following factors into consideration before pulling the goalie:

  • How much time is left on the game clock?
  • Will the opposing team slip past our skaters?
  • How many goals is my team behind?


Having an extra skater on the ice is a huge benefit as it allows the team to cycle the puck to an open skater who is not being guarded by an opposing player.

Hockey Cycle

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