Glossary: 5-Hole Goal

Little goalies seem to be full of holes — gaping holes to the left, to the right, above their heads. If they’ve got 5 holes, they have 20. But as goalies grow and cover more of the net, shots get more strategic. Crowds particularly admire 5-hole shots, which are both hard to make and hard to prevent. You, too, can appreciate a 5-hole goal if you know what fans are talking about.

A 5-hole goal goes in between the goalie’s legs and skates. Goalies try to prevent 5-hole goals with their stick and with “butterfly” moves (although nothing will remind you less of an elegant fluttering butterfly than a padded, smelly hockey player dropping to the ice). Holes 1 through 4 include glove-side high, glove-side low, stick-side high and stick-side low. If you poke around online, you can’t find references to the mythical 6-hole where the puck seems to go straight through the goalie. You can also find 6-hole and 7-hole referencing the goalie’s stick-side torso and glove-side torso. In the United States, however, you can sound like a real fan by simply knowing what 5-hole means.

The best look we found of a 5-hole goal is from behind the net at a roller hockey game. See it in action here:

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kelly Kordes Anton for this story.
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