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Video Coach

Extending Time in the Offensive Zone with Puck Retrieval

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 03/22/19, 4:15PM EDT


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

Getting the puck into the offensive zone can be a battle so once it's there, making the most of the possession is crucial. Teams are always looking for creative ways to fool defenders and create high quality scoring opportunities.

There is so much to like about the play  in this edition of Video Coach including many of the elements and concepts we have previously broken down. Perhaps the most meaningful part of this sequence is the offence that is created after the initial rush entry. The ability to create second and third opportunities and create sustained pressure is where breakdowns occur and are the hallmark of teams that are hard to play against.

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Let’s take a closer look and break it down…

Rush and Retrieval for Multiple Offensive Opportunities

Game Date: March 18, 2019

  • TML29 picks up the puck in his own zone, turns up ice and drives through the neutral zone with speed and eyes up reading pressure
  • PHI has all five players below the puck but there is no pressure applied to the puck carrier
  • TML34 provides support outside the dotline and TML18 cuts across the ice providing middle lane support which has  pushed back the PHI defenders
  • TML34 drives into the zone and attacks the dotline
  • PHI3 extends his body through stick placement and defends through the dotline
  • TML29 drives through the middle lane and past PHI11
  • PHI still has numbers in defence and controls the middle of the ice but the speed of TML 34 and 29 start to manipulate the defenders and put them under pressure
  • TML34 gets to the dotline and creates a shot from ‘loaded’ position outside his body
  • PHI3 does a good job of getting his shoulder and stick inside of TML34 and limiting his drive to the net
  • TML29 drives the near post and takes a wide-stance as he engages with PHI8
  • All the PHI players have now turned their feet towards their own net
  • TML29 uses his speed and inside positioning on PHI8 to retrieve puck below the goal line
  • TML18, who became the third player in the rush, supports the puck by ‘hunting the dot’ directly above the puck
  • TML34 also provides support behind the net and is available for ‘east-west’ pass
  • From this angle you can see how TML29 has gained inside positioning on the two PHI defenders
  • This retrieval is crucial to extending the drive creating additional pressure on the defending team
  • From this angle you see the feet of TML18 hunting the dot and the open ice available behind the net for a pass or as an escape path
  • TML29 skates to open ice behind the net and pulls both PHI8 & 11 with him
  • TML18 mirrors the path of TML29 in front of the net to offer ‘north-south’ support
  • Once TML29 attacked open ice behind net, TML34 reloads out of the corner and hunts the dot on the other side of the ice
  • PHI still has numerical advantage but they are all puck-focused as TML29 moves the puck from behind the net to net-front
  • TML34 drives to the middle of the ice and catches and releases puck before the PHI defenders can react

Watch the video clip again to see how puck retrievals after the initial rush are crucial to extending zone time and creating confusion, breakdowns and ultimately additional scoring opportunities.

Video Coach is a series of articles which reviews a video clip from game action and then breaks 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.

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to USA Hockey to OMHA Minor Midget champions - to improve individual players' points total, heighten spatial awareness, and foster better anticipation of the play. Recent research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer, can be purchased here.

"What I'm noticing with IntelliGym is that it compliments my use of area games or situational pressure drills in practice. My players are recognizing and executing their options faster than they have in the past. This improvement has translated to games. They are moving to open areas to support their teammate with the puck."

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Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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