Have you ever been scored on immediately after a faceoff loss? Annoying right?
The following guide is to illustrate both how to score faceoff goals and more importantly, how to defend them. If you are new to EA Sports NHL then you may want to check out our general Faceoff Guide to get a hang of the basics first.
It almost makes me feel bad when I score faceoff goals repeatedly on the same person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel bad, but almost… I know the opponent is probably thinking it’s glitchy and can’t be defended, but that’s not the case – more on that shortly.
First, for those who aren’t aware of faceoff goals:
That is the most common faceoff goal you will see and it requires a couple elements:
- Faceoff tie-up
- Outside Winger on their off-wing(lefty on the right or righty on the left)
Tie-up happens, winger swoops in and snipes. Simple.
When I see an opponent line up on the backhand in their defensive zone…
Now, I totally understand why people may think this is glitchy because once the tie-up is successful then it looks like there isn’t a lot you can do. So, the best way to defend it is don’t lose the faceoff!
… yeah, thanks a lot Pogge, what a revolutionary idea…
Hold on, hear me out. We know all faceoff moves have counters. The counter for the tie-up is a forehand grip, so if you’re worried they will tie you up then go forehand and you will win it almost 100% of the time. Unless your player’s faceoff skill is way worse than your opponent; in which case you got other problems to resolve.
Offensive Zone Faceoff Strategies
I’ll cover the popular offensive zone faceoff goal strategies that I’m aware of. If I miss any then you can share them in the comments or just keep them to yourself like a greedy
bastard strategic player.
Off Wing One-Timer
Win the faceoff and pass it to the inside winger for a quick one-timer.
Requirement: Inside winger must be on their off-wing
You don’t always have to use the tie-up faceoff draw like I did in the video. If you win it back to one of your defenseman then just watch if that winger is able to back off into a good scoring position – pass it over… boom!
This has two possibilities, you can either shoot it right away or win it to the outside D-man and pass it to the other for a one-timer. Both are illustrated in the video below.
- D man with a good shot (try Burns… I don’t think he ever misses)
- Inside D man on their opposite side if going for one-timer(lefty on right or righty on left)
Notice on the second clip from the above video that I thought he was going to go for the quick snipe so I attempted a forehand win then he countered it with a stick left and ended up getting a goal. Nice play.
PS. How about that McDavid half clap? You watched it at least twice right? I’m going to cover defending point shots further down but it ain’t gonna apply to that one…
Quick Tip – Defenseman Switch
Let’s say you have your defensemen on their natural sides, lefty on the left and righty on the right. That means they won’t be in position for a one-timer.
You can easily change that. While in possession of the puck skate over to the other defenseman’s side – The AI understands this and that defenseman will switch over to cover your side putting them in a perfect position for a one-timer.
Defensive Zone Faceoff Strategies
The main objective when defending a faceoff goal is to win the faceoff, of course. However, what if you don’t win? Are you completely helpless? No!
Lets first analyze the opponents setup and what faceoff draw style to use then we’ll cover strategies for when you lose a draw.
Analyzing The Faceoff Setup
The most important part of defending faceoff goals is analyzing your opponents setup. Not just whether he lines up forehand or backhand, but the handedness of all their players as that will make a big difference in what scoring options they have available.
Okay so they can’t go for the off wing one-timer since their inside winger is left handed. The centerman is also left handed and lined up on their forehand so they won’t be able to win it to their inside D man either. That leaves them two options:
- Option #1: Tie-up and quick snipe
- Option #2: Stick lift or regular forehand win to their outside D man and either quick shot or passing to the opposite defenseman for a one-timer
If we think they will go with Option #1 then we should go for a regular forehand win to counter it; on the other hand, if we’re thinking Option #2 then we can stick lift or *win it on the backhand.
*You almost NEVER want to try and win it on the backhand while in your own defensive zone. As mentioned earlier, the quick snipe off the tie-up is the most well known and easiest faceoff goal to do.
That leaves us with either stick lifting or winning it on the forehand. If you don’t already know your opponents tendencies then I would suggest going with the forehand win as the winger quick snipe is most common and I’d say a higher percentage scoring opportunity than a point shot off the draw.
Similar to above except the centerman is right handed and the inside winger is on their off wing so the one-timer there may be available.
The centerman being right handed might not seem like it matters much, but it actually makes a big difference. They have lined up on their forehand so they can only win it to their inside defenseman or tie you up and let the outside winger take it.
That means the point shot one-timer won’t happen. A quick shot with the inside defenseman isn’t a very high percentage scoring opportunity(although it can work!) so it’s very likely in this situation the opponent will try the tie-up and either go for the quick snipe or pass to the inside winger for a one-timer.
Conclusion… Go forehand and you will kaibosh their master plan! I don’t remember what ended up happening on this exact play but I’ll say I won it and I’m usually right until someone proves me wrong.
Lost Faceoff… What Now?
Okay, so you lost the faceoff and now need to defend one of the earlier Faceoff Goal strategies. All hope is not lost! Let’s go over each one individually.
The moment you get tied-up, switch players. That should give you the inside winger so you can immediately skate in and poke check the puck towards the boards or at the very least get in the way of the shooter.
I realize in the second clip that the opponent wasn’t the right hand for a quick snipe but you get the idea. Try not to poke it right to their defenseman like I did… 😀
Off Wing One-Timer
It depends how they win the draw. If they tie you up then you would defend it the exact same way as the quick snipe above.
However, if they win it back to their defense and look to pass it down to that inside winger then you need to get in that pass lane or try to poke check them before they get the pass off.
Doesn’t matter whether they win it to the left or right defenseman you will want to quickly switch players and attempt to pokecheck them before they do anything with the puck. This can sometimes result in a breakaway or partial breakaway for you.
Do your best to skate towards them directly in their shooting lane or where you think they will end up shooting from so you at least block the shot if you don’t make it there in time for the poke.
I was fortunate that I got the pokecheck there… I was definitely not in position to block that shot.
The Fake(Faux) Backhand to Forehand Move
Everything above has been assuming that your opponent doesn’t know the backhand fake to forehand faceoff move as it sort of throws a wrench in the whole mixer here. Is it meant to be in the game? I really don’t think so; however, it is currently in the game so it’s only fair if you all know how to do it and more importantly how to counter it.
First off, what is it? If you are in Div 1 or have been playing HUT Comp Seasons then you likely already know but for those who don’t, here is what it looks like:
You lineup on the backhand but then win it on the forehand. As far as countering goes you are doing a forehand draw so your opponent should do a stick lift to counter it, but the initial backhand grip will bait them into thinking they can tie you up, which is actually weak against forehand grip!
In the first clip from the above video you can see how effective it can be. He’s lined up on his backhand and so far I’m not sure if he knows the faux backhand move or not so the quick snipe is looking like my highest percentage scoring chance here… until boom he flips it forehand and shuts me down.
How to do the Faux Backhand Faceoff
The key is getting familiar with the timing of it and just being quick. You will find it’s very easy to do after only a bit of practice.
Start off with the backhand grip, 3 o’clock for a lefty or 9 o’clock for a righty. When the ref goes to drop the puck you would normally pull back or push forward to win it, but instead quickly push the stick to the forehand and back(or forward if you want a forehand stick lift).
So for a left handed player – 3 o’clock with the right analog stick then when the ref moves push straight over to 9 o’clock and quarter circle down to 6 o’clock – all in one quick sequence.
How to Counter it
Already mentioned above, but just want to make it clear. If you suspect someone will do this move to you then do the stick lift and you should beat it every time, assuming your player’s faceoff attribute is somewhat close to your opponents.
There you have it! Now go make kids rage. See ya in the faceoff dot.
PS. If you want to be the first to receive updates on new tips then Subscribe by email below.