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When Game Winning Goals Get Scored

Game Winning Goals tend to get scored late in the Second Period or early in the Third Period.

Dilip Vishwanat

I am doing a project on the value of goals and this is a little offshoot. I am using the RTSS files to pull the scores and times. Just to be sure I am comparing apples to apples, these are games that ended in regulation. I went through every game from 2007-08 through 2012-13. In these charts and tables, time is in seconds. So the First Period ends at 1200, Second Period ends at 2400, and Regulation ends at 3600. The average game winner happened at 2226 seconds, or 17:06 of the second period. Let's break it down by total goals scored:

GoalNum

mean

0%

25%

50%

75%

100%

data:n

Goal01

1878.6

42.0

1088.0

1902.0

2638.8

3583.0

146

Goal02

1418.4

24.0

636.8

1349.0

1972.0

3600.0

184

Goal03

1868.3

12.0

1025.0

1912.0

2723.5

3600.0

695

Goal04

1724.8

13.0

971.3

1726.0

2473.3

3600.0

664

Goal05

2117.7

48.0

1400.5

2146.0

2907.5

3600.0

1152

Goal06

1996.6

27.0

1332.0

2072.0

2747.0

3600.0

713

Goal07

2230.0

26.0

1590.5

2250.0

2953.0

3600.0

810

Goal08

2127.0

75.0

1503.3

2170.0

2820.3

3600.0

400

Goal09

2294.1

74.0

1692.5

2319.0

3039.8

3600.0

304

Goal10

2356.6

183.0

1652.5

2545.0

3146.0

3600.0

131

Goal11

2397.9

314.0

1857.0

2508.5

3201.5

3600.0

86

Goal12

2153.7

428.0

1510.5

2146.0

2764.0

3600.0

27

Goal13

2711.0

1314.0

2113.5

2891.5

3502.5

3600.0

12

Goal14

2916.0

2247.0

2821.3

2956.5

3169.8

3319.0

6

Goal15

3000.0

2719.0

2859.5

3000.0

3140.5

3281.0

2

Goal17

3534.0

3534.0

3534.0

3534.0

3534.0

3534.0

1

Graphically, it looks like: (my pictures aren't as pretty as Robb's)

Winners_medium

Game Winning Goals tend to get scored late in the Second Period or early in the Third Period. Game Winners in 1 goal games get scored at about the same time as Game Winners in 12 goal games. Two goal games have to finish 2-0, so the game winner is the first goal. That's why it is relatively early. Winners in even goal games tend to be earlier than odd goal games because of this effect.