How does a goalie get a win in hockey? With Scenarios!

It’s easy to figure out who gets the win or loss if only one goalie has played during the game for your team. But it is not uncommon to have the backup goalie play in a game. So when a backup goalie comes into the game and that team wins, which goalie gets the win?

How does a goalie get a win in hockey? A goalie will be credited for the win in hockey if they are in net when their team has scored the goal that allows it to be one head in the final score. The length of time in net during the game is not a factor, but simply who was in net when the winning goal was scored.  

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What is the game winning goal? 


The game winning goal is determined as the goal by the winning team that allows it to be one more than the opponent. 

Here is the definition from the NHL: 

After the final score has been determined, the goal which leaves the winning Club one goal ahead of its opponent is the game-winning goal (example: if Team A beats Team B 8-3, the player scoring the fourth goal for Team A receives credit for the game-winning goal). Source

The common misconception is that people will get captivated by how many goals the winning team has scored. It doesn’t matter if they score 1, 2, 3, 4, or 100 more goals than the other team. The game winning goal is only concerned with the goal that gave you one more than the opposition. 

Now let’s look at some different scenarios that could play out in a game and which goalie gets the win:


Which goalie gets the win?


Scenario #1

Let’s start off with an easy one. 

The team must have eaten the wrong pre-game meal, because nobody showed up to play. The other team carried the play and dominated to a 4-0 lead. The coach trying to change the fortunes of the team, and to save some respectability to the starting goalie makes a goalie change and the backup comes in.

Something clicked with the team and they come roaring back to win 5-4. 

Who gets the win? The backup goalie

Again, the backup goalie came in and helped save the day. He was in net when the 5th goal, which was the game winning goal was scored, so he gets the win. 


Scenario #2


The game is at the start of the third period and the score is 2-1 for you when your starting goalie goes down with an injury.  This is not good, but your backup goalie comes in and plays well helping your team go onto a 3-2 victory. 

Who gets the win? The backup goalie. 

In this scenario, the backup goalie will get a win because he was in for the winning goal, which was the third goal. Both the starting goalie and the backup goalie each let in one goal, and the starting goalie even played more minutes, but none of that matters. The goalie who was playing net while the game winning goal was scored gets the win. And, in this case, it was the backup goalie.

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Scenario #3


At the opening face off, your team sets a team record for fastest goal from the start of the game by scoring 9 seconds in and are up 1-0. It’s amazing! However, what is not amazing is that the very next shift the opposition trying to get quickly back on track aggressively charges towards a loose puck in front of your net and accidentally falls on your goalie. Your goalie is injured and is forced to leave the net at the 1 minute mark of the game, bringing the backup goalie in. The team does not let the injury to the starting goalie deter them and go on to win the game 4-0. 

Who gets the win? The starting goalie.

Even though the starting goalie was in the net for only 1 minute of a 60 minute game he still gets the win, because he was in when the game winning goal was scored. The backup goalie may have come in and played amazingly well – even stopping 50 shots – but it does not matter. The only thing that matters for determining who gets the win is what goalie was in the net when the game winning goal was scored. In this scenario the game winning goal was scored 9 seconds into the game, while the starting goalie was in. 

Related  Questions


How are the wins and losses determined in overtime or a shootout?

In overtime or the shootout, one of the goalies on the ice will get the win, but the other does not get a straight loss. 

Whichever goalie wins the overtime or shootout gets the win, and it is added to their win column for the season. Simple enough.

However, whichever goalie losses the shootout will not get a loss like they would have if they lost the game in regulation or overtime. Instead, they will get credit in another category called overtime losses.

A goalies stat line will look like the: 19-7-5

This means that the goalie has won 19 games, lost 7 games (in regulation), and lost 5 games in overtime or the shootout. 

They do this because it most accurately reflects the team’s record and how many points they have accumulated towards the standings. For any type of win the team will get 2 points. Whereas for a loss in regulation they get 0 points, but for a loss in overtime or the shootout they get 2 points. 

The OT loss portion of a goalies stat line helps indicate the extra points he has helped the team accumulate by getting those extra points in overtime or shootout losses.

2 thoughts on “How does a goalie get a win in hockey? With Scenarios!

  1. I wonder why Zamboni driver David Ayers was credited for a win against Maple Leaf, he got into game leading 4-1 and won 6-3. He got credit for a win.

  2. Hey Rodney!
    That was an amazing game and moment when David Ayers came in for the Canes!
    Ayers actually came in when the score was 3-1. Aho scored after that to make it 4-1. Ayers would later let in 2 goals during the rest of the game and the final score was 6-3. This made Aho’s goal the game winning goal, and thus Ayers got the win.
    If Ayers had let in less goals during the game than Mrazek would have got the win.
    But, I’m so glad that he did end up getting the win – great, great story!!!

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