What Is SOG In Ice Hockey (Hockey SOG Explained)

What Is SOG In Ice Hockey? Explained

Ice hockey statistics abound, and each one denotes a distinct concept or quality. Yet, among all these statistics, we’ll be focusing on the significance of SOG in ice hockey today. The definition of a SOG and how it differs from a shot in ice hockey will be discussed.

What Does SOG Mean In Ice Hockey?

What Is SOG In Ice Hockey?

The stats attribute SOG represents “Shot on Goal”. It is used to show how many shots by hockey players resulted in goals or would have resulted in goals if the goalie had not blocked the shot.

SOG can be found in both the NHL stats of players and teams. Throughout a match, season, or career, it displays each player’s total amount of shots on goal. When a team is involved, it displays the total number of shots on goal that each member of the team has taken collectively.

It is sometimes either represented by the symbol S or SOG.

What Counts As A Shot On Goal (SOG)?

What Does Not Count As SOG?

Ice hockey’s SOG is not determined by the shot’s nature. It makes no difference whether the shot is a wrist shot, slap shot, one-timer, or even a light shot that causes the puck to gently glide toward the goal. Every shot that is aimed at the net and satisfies either of the two criteria listed below is recognized as an SOG (shot on goal).

The first is that a shot counts as a shot on goal if it results in a goal. Moreover, the player who hit the ball last gets a shot on goal while any other player who hit it before the last person receives an assist. This is used whenever the puck is deflected or tipped into the goal by a teammate other than the player who made the shot.

Moreover, a shot on goal is any shot that would have resulted in a goal if the goalie had not blocked it. In ice hockey, a player does not receive a SOG if:

  • The puck does not get to the goalie
    This means if the puck is deflected by a defenseman or any player changes its direction from the net. When this happens the player from the opposing team responsible for stopping the puck is awarded points for the number of blocked shots. 
  • The puck misses the net
    This can happen if the shot is too high or the shot angle is too wide. In this case, the goalies didn’t need to stop the puck.
  • The puck hits the goal pole without entering the net
    If the puck hits the goal pole but does not enter into the net, it is not counted as a shot on goal.

Average Number Of Shots On Goal (SOG) In An NHL Game

Average Number Of Shots On Goal (SOG) In An NHL Game

The amount of SOG a player will have in a game is determined by their level (top-rated or low-ranking player). A team’s top players are more likely to stay on the ice for a longer amount of time, providing them more opportunities to take shots.

In addition to player ranking, a player’s position greatly affects their chances of getting a shot on goal. A typical example is NHL goalies as they cannot even cross the center red line into the other team’s half of the ice. Therefore, goalies are not supposed to be able to shoot the puck toward the goal.

For more info, read: Where Can Goalies Play The Puck In Ice Hockey?

In ice hockey, defensemen can occasionally take shots, but not as frequently as forwards. However, since taking shots is the primary responsibility of the position they hold, forwards on the other hand are more likely to do so during a game than defensemen or goalies.

Top-tier strikers frequently produce between 4-8 SOG in a single game. Ice hockey players often only have the opportunity to take an average of four shots on goal (SOG) during a game.

Furthermore, goalies often save 40 to 50 shots on goal per game. Anything beyond this is seen as a lot. Yet, there is a good likelihood that there will be more shots whenever a game lasts longer than the allotted 60 minutes.

Team With The Most SOG In An NHL Game

Team With Most SOG In An NHL Game

The Boston Bruins vs. Quebec Nordiques matchup on March 21, 1991, featured the most SOG in a regular-season game in NHL history. The Nordique’s goalie, Ron Tugnutt, stopped 17 shots in the opening frame, 18 of 19 in the second period, and 23 of 25 in the third period.

Once the game entered the first overtime, he once more stopped 12 shots on goal. The Boston Bruins made 73 shots on goal in total during the game, setting a record for the most SOG in NHL history. Three goals were scored out of the 73 SOG, while the goaltender stopped 70 of the shots.

Ranking TeamOpponent DateSOG (Shot On Goal)
1Boston BruinsQuebec Nordiques20th March 199173
2Boston BruinsBuffalo Sabres 10th December 197072
3Minnesota North StarsLos Angeles Kings24th March 198168
4Carolina HurricanesNashville Predators 5th January 202367
5Boston BruinsMinnesota North Stars 7th February 197167
Data From statmuse.com

Player With The Most SOG In The NHL

Player With The Most SOG In The NHL

The player with the most SOG in an NHL game also came from the same matchup. Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins made 19 shots on goal in the game against the Quebec Nordiques. This still stands as the most shot on goal in an NHL game. 

The table below shows a list of the top 5 NHL players with the most shots on goal in an NHL regular game in history.

Ranking Player Team Opponent DateSOG 
1Ray BourqueBoston BruinsQuebec Nordiques20th March 199119
2Marian HossaAtlanta Thrashers Carolina Hurricanes1st November 200616
3Rod GilbertNew York RangersMontreal Canadiens 24th February 196816
4Auston MatthewsToronto Maple LeafCarolina Hurricanes25th March 202315
5Alex OvechkinWashington Capitals Detroit Red Wings10th November 201515
Data From statmuse.com

NHL Shot On Goals Leaders 

Just like the NHL has leaders in the number of goals, assists, and saves among other stats, the NHL also ranks the SOG leaders in the league each season. The leader of each year is the player who records the highest number of shots for the season. 

NHL Shot On Goals Leaders 2021-22

For the 2021-22 season, the player with the most SOG in the regular season was Auston Matthews with 348 shots on target. The center of the Toronto Maple Leafs held the position with a difference of 14 shots from the second player on the leaderboard, Alexander Ovechkin. 

Ranking PlayersTeamGames Played SOG (Shot On Goals)
1Auston MatthewsToronto Maple Leafs73348
2Alex OvechkinWashington Capitals 77334
3Timo MeierSan Jose Sharks77326
4Kyle ConnorWinnipeg Jets79317
5Connor McDavidEdmonton Oilers 80314
6David PastrnakBoston Bruins72312
7Nathan MacKinnonColorado Avalanche65299
Data From statmuse.com

NHL Shot On Goals Leaders 2022-23

With 407 shots on goal in 82 games, David Pastrnak leads the NHL in SOG for the 2022–23 regular season. The Boston Bruins right winger took the top spot on the rankings, surpassing Nathan MacKinnon, who was ranked second, by 49 SOG points.

The 2022–23 regular season shot on goal leaderboard is displayed in the table.

RankingPlayers TeamGames Played SOG (Shot On Goal)
1David PastrnakBoston Bruins82407
2Nathan MacKinnonColorado Avalanche70358
3Connor McDavidEdmonton Oilers 82352
4Brady TkachukOttawa Senators82347
5Jack HughesNew Jersey Devils78336
6Auston MatthewsToronto Maple Leafs74327
7Timo MeierSan Jose Sharks78327
Data From statmuse.com


Shot on goals can be compared with the number of goals scored by a player to give the score percentage. A score percentage is the percentage of goals scored to shots taken. It shows the accuracy hockey players have when they shoot the puck. 

In an ice hockey game, the SOG is often shown on the screen as the game goes on. The data on the screen merely shows the aggregate shots of the goal of all the players on a team. After the end of the game, each of the shots is reviewed to know the players whose stats the points will be allocated. 

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