When to Sauce and When Not to Sauce
Besides scoring a goal, making the perfect saucer pass might be one of the best feelings in Hockey. A high skill play that when executed properly, can set your team up for a great opportunity to score. However, once learned it can be hard to not try and send a saucer pass every time you need to move the puck, and while it looks cool, it's not always the best option. Here are a few things to know about this elite play and how to best utilize it:
What is a Saucer Pass?
If you don't know what a saucer pass is, or what someone means when they say "throwing sauce" it's basically a pass that is sent in the air that rotates flat, like a saucer, so that when it lands, it doesn't bounce away from your teammates stick. This can help you get it over a defender's stick or body part that would be covering any direct pass on-ice. For more tips on how to execute a saucer pass, check out our video here.
When to Saucer Pass
Once mastered, the saucer pass is a great tool to use in all three zones of the rink to help breakout or kickstart offense for your team. On the breakout, a saucer pass can be a great play from a defender to a winger on the boards to avoid forecheckers sticks. A clean pass here can lead to an easy breakout from the winger skating it out or making one more quick pass to the center. In the neutral zone, a well timed saucer pass into an open area can lead your teammate behind a defender and send them in on a breakaway or other high scoring opportunity off of the rush. In the offensive zone, a saucer pass can be the perfect assist to cut through defensive coverage and finish in a goal. It's especially lethal on power-plays to get the puck through sticks when there's a bit more space to operate.
When NOT to Saucer Pass
Once you get the technique down it's very easy to want to dish saucer passes out on every passing opportunity. You might even get so good you can get them over other player's heads and have them land clean on the other side! However, while the saucer pass looks cool and feels great to pull off, it's not always the best option when making passes. Because of the trajectory it takes, it will always be a slower pass than a direct on-ice pass as well as being easier to read where a defender can step in and intercept it to shut down your play. Saucer passes are meant to open up a different angle of passing and should only be used when needed. If you have a direct on-ice lane to a teammate, making a smooth tape to tape pass is almost always going to be a quicker and better option than a saucer pass. Not only will it get to your teammate faster, but it will be easier for them to handle and the probability of success is much higher than with a saucer pass, so make sure you're choosing the right times to sauce!
How to Improve Your Sauce!
If you're looking to get better at your saucer passes, the best way is to practice! If you're on the ice, find a teammate and put an obstacle in between you both, like the SweetHands 2.0, and work on saucing it over top and onto your teammates stick. If you're at home, make sure you have a nice slick surface, like our Slick Tiles, and send some passes into the five hole of your Shooting Tarp, or for an extra challenge, see if you can land it inside of your PassMaster!