Why do ice hockey teams usually replace their goalie after an empty net goal?

In ice hockey, when a team is losing by a goal in the last few minutes, the coach usually pulls the goalie and replaces them with another player, leaving the net empty, but this doesn’t matter since goal difference isn’t as important as it is in a sport like football.

1 Answer

they usually pull the goalie with about 2-3 minutes remaining.

This is correct, but only half the story. They pull the goalie when a small amount of time is remaining and the team has control of the puck in the offensive zone. Why you need control of the puck is I hope obvious, why only in the offensive zone: because there’s too much risk of losing the puck one way or another while trying to advance it into the zone.

Given that, why they replace the goalie after a goal is scored is fairly easy: the just scored on team doesn’t have control of the puck (it’s going to be 50-50 after the faceoff) and they’re not in the offensive zone. Pulling the goalie is already a high risk, desperation stakes tactic – doing so when you don’t have good chance of getting off a good shot on goal moves it from “probably worthwhile” to “reduces your chances of winning”.

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