#2013WJC (delayed) #Moneypuck update. Results of pulling your goalie…does it matter?

16 Feb

A quick look at the results of pulling your keeper in the World Junior Championships.  There are some potential problems with this analysis.  First, if you switch goalies because you either leading by a lot or losing by a lot there may not be a reason for the teams to play as hard.  Bench players may also get more time, meaning less skill on the ice, possibly less scoring and defense.  Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to look at the results.

The first keeper pulled was in game 2: Switzerland vs. Latvia.  The Swiss were up 5 to 2 after the second period and Latvia switched in Punnenovs for Merzlikins.  Switzerland’s offensive performance declined in the 3rd period, putting only 9 shots on goal in the 3rd (17 in the 1st and 13 in the 2nd).  However, the Swiss outscored the Latvian side 2-0 in the final period.  Latvia actually played worse in the 3rd period with the new keeper.

Punnenovs got the start in the final two games and finished with a 5.02 GAA.  Merzlikins finished with a 6.23 GAA.

The U.S. switched goalies after going up big against Germany in their 8-0 win.  Though it is hard to say definitively it had an effect, Gibson lost to a much better Russian side in their next match.

Germany moved away from Subban after there 9-3 loss to Canada.  Cupper started the final three games and lost 8-0, 7-0, and 2-1.

In both the U.S. vs. Russia and U.S. vs. Canada losses, Gibson was pulled in the final minutes to give the Americans an extra skater.  Neither instance led to the equalizer.  It would be interesting to see if more offense was generated when Gibson was out of the net, even though there were no goals.

Finland scored in five seconds after pulling Korpisalo in their 5-4 shootout win over Switzerland.  This goal was made by the extra skater, Markus Granlund, but during a faceoff.  Scoring on a possession in the offensive zone within five seconds makes it difficult to credit the goal to having the extra skater.  Nevertheless, that was the case.

So, it appears that in a tournament setting, that pulling your goalie when you are up to give them a rest in later games could affect them negatively in later games.  Also, generally speaking, pulling your goalie more often than not does not lead to that equalizer goal.  The wisdom is that the man advantage gives a team a better opportunity to score, but the extra goal rarely comes to fruition.


***This article was originally drafted in January.  Since there was an interesting goalie pulling situation in the under 20 tournament for the Hungarian team.  Mark Plekszan started in goal the first game and was chased out.  Hungary lost that first game.  He was replaced in the following game, but got the start again later.  He was again chased from the net; however, he was pulled early enough in the first period that Hungary was able to come back and win that game.  The mixed result here is that pulling him in the tournament probably didn’t help his confidence.   Yet, making an early decision in a tournament to pull your keeper could be beneficial.  Though, it seems if a team decides to make that switch, then they should stick with their decision for the rest of the tournament.  This was played out in the 2013 WJC and some of the Olympic prequalifying tournaments, as the teams that switched goalies the least had the most success.


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