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Video Coach | Hunting the Dot

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 12/19/16, 1:30PM EST

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Breaking down game action video to identify skills, tactics and strategy

By Ian Taylor - Executive Director

Game Date: November 12, 2016

Welcome to our new feature called OMHA Video Coach! In this segment we will review a video clip from game action and then break down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

‘Hunting the Dot’ simply refers to supporting the puck in the offensive zone when your team is in possession or battling for the puck. The supporting player comes away from net front and supports the puck in an ‘I’ or straight line from the puck. Let’s look at how this simple tactic is difficult to defend and simple to execute…

Now, let’s take a closer look and break it down…

  • PIT17 tries to walk-out from behind the net and PIT87 ‘hunts the dot’ to provide support in a position where he can:
    a) create a simple passing lane without being tied up in net-front, and;
    b) can act as the high forward and provide support if TOR gets possession and attempts to breakout
  • PIT43 is providing quick and close support down low
  • TOR has good shape defensively with four players below the dots
  • PIT43 uses evasive skating to pick up loose puck and cuts back to space in opposite corner
  • PIT87 continues to ‘hunt the dot’ moving straight through the hash marks to the opposite site, again providing simple support in an ‘I’ position from the puck
  • PIT17 rotates from below goal line to support middle of ice
  • TOR continues to keep the ‘house’* clear

*Prime scoring area in from of the net’

  • PIT43 passes to PIT87 who shoots one-timer immediately
  • PIT87 immediately follows shot; creates pressure; looking to retrieve puck as quickly as possible
  • PIT17 drives into the house to the net looking for rebound
  • PIT87 pressures TOR22
  • PIT43 seals wall to take away rim pass up the wall
  • PIT17 re-loads to dot to support as high-man
  • PIT87 retrieves puck and immediately sends backhand pass to PIT17 who now ‘hunts the dot’
  • This pass is automatic before TOR43 can contain PIT87
  • PIT17 is alone in a ‘quiet space’ – below the strong-side W who is cutting off the PIT defenceman and away from net-front where he would be picked up by the weak-side W – TOR47
  • PIT17 shoots from ‘dot’ position and drives the net
  • TOR44 tries to block shot but is late
  • PIT43 also goes to the net, beating his man, TOR22, to the net
  • PIT17 drives past TOR44 and TOR47 to retrieve rebound
  • PIT43 also beats TOR22 and TOR44 to the net
  • TOR has gone from compact, clean net-front with four players below the dots to being on the outside looking in – with two PIT players inside their checks
  • PIT17 retrieves rebound and scores

Watch the video again to see how PIT automatically ‘hunts the dots’ to provide simple puck support in quiet areas between their checks. The forwards reload each time putting pucks on net and then pressuring the puck to retrieve quickly.

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