Owen Giraldo and Ehab Shoukry have the best defenses against straights. What do they do differently to block cuts, crosses, power straights, and off-speeds? The answer is right in front of you (and them). They hold steady.
Once their defenses are set, they simply do not move their mallets after a straight shot is executed. This is one of the basic ideas behind the Triangle Defense – movement is reserved for blocking banks. When the puck is struck your mallet should already be in the correct position to block ALL straights: About 14″ out from the goal, directly on the path between the center of your goal to the center of the puck. Once the mallet is in this position, there is only one type of straight that will score: A perfect one. And unless you are playing Jesse Douty or a small handful of others, you will not have to worry about too many dead-on shots. When a straight is hit against you, do not move the mallet to the left, right, back or to the centerline. The mallet is already in the path of virtually all of the straights. Just make sure that your mallet is centered correctly in relation to the puck and goal.
A few more pointers to block straights
Keep your wrist limp so that when the puck strikes the mallet it will be deadened. Once the puck makes initial contact with the mallet in its out position, then move the mallet so that the puck is not redirected off the bank back into the mallet and into your goal.
Easy enough, right? Now all you have to do is the hard part…figure out when the straights are coming!
*Originally published April 30, 1999