Written by: Jon Scarr
Hockey is a great team sport that requires every player to contribute in order to make the team a success. However, your goalie is the last line of defense and thus having a quality goalie is crucial to a team’s success. For this reason, I’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you take your goalie skills to the next level in NHL 18.
First, we need to talk about the control schemes available in NHL 18—alternate and default. Alternate is similar to the controls on earlier games in the series. While the default settings mix things up a bit by moving butterfly to R2/RT, precision movement is L2/LT and holding the post is done with L1/LB.
Personally, I use the alternate control scheme but I suggest you try both control schemes out and see what you are most comfortable with. Next is the precession movement default setting. Precision movements are much more controlled and thus I recommend keeping this setting on.
Next, let’s talk about the camera angles you can choose from when playing goalie. Essentially there are three categories that camera angles fall in, each with their own pros and cons. Cameras such as overhead, zone, and classic are considered to be top down and allow you to see the entire ice.
Up close style cameras such as low, high, dynamic low/medium/ high are the most immersive cameras. They keep you right in the action and make it easy to see if you are in position since the action is so close. Fixed, action and ice are hybrid style cameras that are a mixture of both top down and up close style cameras. You can see almost the entire ice, which makes it helpful for reading plays and the camera is close enough to make angles easy enough to read.
My advice is to use one of the hybrid style cameras. They give you the best of each of the other two camera styles and will make stopping those pucks that much easier while being able to see pretty much all of the action going on.
So now that we have the controls and camera angles out of the way, it’s time to talk about goalie positioning. One of the most important things that you need to know is that you don’t need to that as aggressive in the crease as a real NHL goalie.
Honestly, you should play no further than the middle of the crease—with the odd exception from time to time. When the puck is in the slot, it is best to stand in the middle of the crease to cover all of your angles. Additionally, this gives you time to move either left or right to make the save if your opponent tries a one timer towards either of your posts.
Conversely, if the puck is at the wide points, in order to have your angles covered move slightly towards the middle of the crease and make sure your feet are just slightly ahead of the posts. More over, if you see the puck carrier winding up or loading a wrister—nine times out of ten they are going to try and snipe the top corner of the goal. Counter this by moving to the top of the crease to cut down the angle.
When facing wide angled shots, it is important that you have the short side covered. You can use the stand-up post hug or move yourself just ahead of the post to get the angle covered. In breakaway situations, the best way to read which way the skater is going is to see which of your posts he cuts to when he reaches the hash marks. If your opponent has any speed, they aren’t going to have much time to make a second cut. So if they cut toward the left post, move left with the left analog stick.
When the puck is right behind your net, drop to butterfly and stay still until the skater commits to one side. Then you can move towards that post. Since you are already in butterfly, when you hold the post your goalie will go into the reverse vh position. When pucks are in the corner you can hug the post. Though, if there is an obvious pass in front of the net, get off that post and get ready to make that save. If you switch posts by accident, quickly use the left or right analog stick to cancel that post switch and go back to your original post. Just remember, stay patient and wait for your opponent to commit.
Finally, lets talk about goalie movement controls. I highly suggest standing up as much as possible to keep your movements under control. Drop to the butterfly position when the puck gets in close or to protect your five-hold from a deflection. Remember, while in the butterfly position its much harder to stay controlled moving left or right. This means that if you are facing a team that knows how to move a puck, you have a high probability of getting beat.
Tracking the puck carrier is a basic yet very important skill that will avoid you giving up weak goals. The further away a skater is, the less you will need to move to cover the angle. Keep your movements controlled with a small push of the left analog stick. Full pushes of the left analog stick should really only be used when the other team does longer passes in your zone.
The right stick save is only something that you should use if you are way out of position. It’s a really aggressive move that can help you make some really flashy saves. Though, if you use it at the wrong time or too much—you’ll end up allowing more goals than you are stopping.
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.
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