If you are a fan of the game of hockey you have likely heard the term goals-against average. But for many fans this is just another piece of hockey slang they do not understand. That is why this article is on hand to break down everything you need to know about goals against average in hockey.
Goals against average in hockey is a goalie statistic that measures the number of goals a goalie lets in per sixty minutes of ice time. Yes, that means that goals against average does not measure for the game but rather for sixty minutes of ice time.
This way the statistic can accurately measure how many frequently the goalie is letting goals in based on time on the ice as opposed to games played.
When a game goes to overtime the goalie is going to be playing extra minutes. If a goalie lets in an overtime goal it is only fair that this statistic takes into account the extra time the goalie spent on the ice.
Otherwise, this goalies GAA will increase even though the regulation time of the game had already ended.
Additionally pulling the goalie is another situation that led to using time on ice instead of games played for GAA. When a goalie is pulled late in a game for an extra attacker they will simply sit on the bench.
Since empty-net goals do not count against a goalies personal statistic they will not be able to let in any goals when they are pulled. This means a goalies GAA would keep improving the longer time they spent on the bench when adding an extra attacker.
This is not the best way to measure a goalies ability to prevent goals which is why the time in which the goalie is pulled is subtracted when calculating GAA.
So if a goalie is pulled for the final two minutes their GAA will be slightly higher than the number of goals they let in, in the 58 minutes they played.
This is because the stat will be extrapolated to fit a sixty-minute time frame.
GAA is one of the main statistics kept on goalies and is often used to analyze how well they have played throughout the year.
How To Calculate A Season Long GAA
Calculating season-long goals against average may seem confusing but it is actually quite simple.
The first thing you need to do is determine the number of minutes the goalie was on the ice. This should include all ice time the goalie had throughout the season, including overtime.
You then want to make sure you subtract any time when the goalie was pulled whether it was for a delayed penalty or for an extra attacker.
Once you have your total minutes the goalie played throughout the season you want to divide it by 60. This will break down your season total minutes into sixty-minute intervals. Sixty-minute intervals were chosen because this is the total game time of a hockey game.
You then want to add up all the goals that the goal conceded throughout the year.
Once you have both these totals you want to divide the total number of goals conceded by the number of 60 minute intervals the goalie played that year.
Goals Against Average Vs Save Percentage
Goals against average and save percentage are the two main personal statistics kept on goaltenders in hockey. It is usually these two stats that fans use to determine how good a goalie has played throughout a game, season or career.
This has led to a debate regarding which of these statistics is better for determining a goalies quality.
Save percentage takes into account the total shots that a goalie faced throughout a game. This stat counts the number of goals allowed on these shots to determine what per cent of shots a goalie saves.
Goals against average on the other hand measures the amount of time a goalie is on the ice to determine how many goals he lets in during every sixty minutes of hockey he/she plays.
For most hockey fans save percentage vs goals against average has a clear winner in terms of determining the quality of a goalie, and that is save percentage. Save percentage is a truly personal statistic for goalies that takes into account the quality of their team’s defense.
With GAA a team may leave their goalie out to dry throughout the game and the statistic has no way to show it. Save percentage is not perfect but it at least takes into account how many shots the opposing took during the game.
In the end, both of these statistics can be helpful in determining a goalies quality but most would agree that save percentage is the better standard.