Hannah Brandt has always had a knack for finding the back of the net. From her youth days in the Roseville Area Youth Hockey Association to landing 2012 Ms. Hockey accolades, her aptitude for scoring has only increased.
Since putting on the “M,” Brandt has asserted herself as the team’s go-to goal scorer. She posted 82 points as a freshman — second in the nation — and added 65 for the Gophers last season while being named a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top female collegiate hockey player in the nation.
So how does she light the lamp so often? Brandt offered some tips on making each shot count.
Ever since I was young, I was shooting a lot of pucks on and off the ice as much as possible. Even now at practice, anytime I get the chance to shoot, I do. I put everything I have into it and try to score every time. You practice like you play, so practice scoring goals and hopefully you get them in games.
It’s all about reading the play. When the puck gets to the point, you need to get to the net as fast as possible and make sure you’re in front. You want to be screening the goalie and have your stick out so you can get the puck and hopefully it finds a lane to you.
You can start to learn to read the play by practicing and playing in games with your team. Get used to know whom you’re playing with and what their tendencies are.
I learned how to juggle in seventh grade. You always see goalies juggling, making quick hand-eye coordination and reflex saves, so I don’t know why forwards can’t be doing the same thing. Hand-eye coordination is huge when it comes to tipping in the puck down low. (Tipping the puck in) isn’t really a normal hockey skill so you need to find something to help it. Whether it be juggling or working on stickhandling, just do something to focus on excelling that hand-eye coordination.
Wrist shots are huge for forwards because we don’t always have that time to wind up and take the slap shot. It’s all about accuracy. It doesn’t even need to be that hard of a shot, but getting it off quick and putting it in the right places is huge. Whether it’s shooting for a rebound or shooting to score, getting the puck off your stick and putting it in the right place is key.
You have to outwork the team down low. They want to get you away from the net and you want to get there, so you have to have a stronger willpower to be there and fight for the position. Know that it can get a little dirty down there but you have to want to be there more than they want you out. Off the ice it’s about working hard and getting strong, especially in your legs, and upper body, too.