Four Kettering University students tested hockey style masks and traditional masks for safety and protection.
"The students determined the traditional style mask is most protective against frontal impact, while the hockey style mask protects better during side impact. "The reason why the hockey style mask protects better against side impact can be attributed to the flex properties of the material used," according to their report. The flex of the helmet was observed from the images recorded by a high speed camera in the crash test lab."
"[T]he traditional style mask performed better when the ball struck the cage, which represented a direct impact to the front of the head occurring on the lower half of the cage. Peak G-force of the traditional mask at this location was 3.763, while peak G-force for the hockey style mask was 9.814."
The full article is found here.