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Stop the Saucer Pass, Start the Slip Pass

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 11/06/20, 1:30PM EST

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Video Coach | Presented by CoachThem

Completing a pass to a teammate can be tough when the defender has their stick blocking the passing lane. Like any skill, it takes practice and a certain softness to get the puck exactly in the spot you want it to end up.

In this edition, we look at the Slip Pass - a pass placed between the defender’s stick and skates – and why this pass is a valuable problem-solving skill and an alternative to the saucer pass as defenders aim to limit time and space of attacking players.

Welcome to OMHA Video Coach where we 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.

  • BOS43 picks the puck up on the wall and reads pressure and available support
  • He crosses over to get off the wall and get to the dotline in order to have multiple attack options.
  • PHI have good numbers back and control the middle ice between the dots
  • BOS43 & BOS13 identify this & attack the immediate 2v1 opportunity they have against PHI59
  • BOS43 gets to the dotline and slows slightly as he crosses the blueline - this pulls PHI59 towards him
  • This delay also gives BOS13 the opportunity to hit the blueline with speed
  • PHI59 has good stick position – extended and taking away the passing lane
  • While PHI still has good numbers, PHI14 hasn’t closed the gap and on BOS13 and doesn’t match his acceleration into the zone.
  • BOS43 & BOS13 to continue to target mismatch on PHI59
  • The delay by BOS43 causes PHI59 to step towards the puck carrier and creates a false-gap
  • BOS13 drives the middle lane and PHI14 is late to react
  • PHI59 is now caught flat footed between the two attackers
  • With PHI59 shading towards the puck, his partner, PHI8 fails to pull to the middle of the ice to maintain spacing and fill space that BOS13 is attacking
  • PHI59 extends his stick again to get stick on puck and this opens up the space between the defenders stick and skates
  • BOS43 waits for this and executes the slip pass
  • PHI14 still is gliding and PHI8 has still not shaded across
  • The breakdown is complete through a  simple but perfectly timed pass
  • This gives BOS13 an open corridor to attack the net
  • PHI8 finally moves to take away space but he is nowhere close and PHI14 watches BOS13 drive away from him.

Draw Drills, Plan Practices

One of a coach’s most valuable tools is their coaching board. With CoachThem, coaches can design drills and create practice plans right on their device and save them. Collaborating and sharing with out coaches has never been easier. Tag your drills, create descriptions of how they are run and emphasize the key points. CoachThem is a collaborative tool to make everyone better. Download CoachThem now.
  • A closer look at BOS43 attacking the dotline causes PHI59 to shift inside the dots and his weight shifts to his left (inside) skate
  • Once he gets to the dotline, BOS43 immediately pushes off his left skate to drive outside the dotline again
  • BOS13 sees this and identifies the space he will attack on entry
  • BOS43’s shift pulls PHI59 across with him as the defender pushes off his left skate 
  • PHI59 does maintain good stick position to take away space and immediate passing lane
  • BOS43 has slowed 
  • PHI59 is now braking with his right foot and he realizes he is in ‘no man’s land’ and he starts to lunge forward to force the puck carrier
  • BOS43 has now set the trap
  • As PHI59 extends his stick the passing lane opens up and BOS43 executes the slip pass under the stick and in front of his skates 
  • BOS13’s quick & close support pays off and he has a clear path to the net.

The slip pass in this sequence is a simply executed 10 foot pass – but the ability to identify the 2v1, control skating, attack open ice and manipulate the defender provide the special blend of skills to create a scoring opportunity and in this case, a goal.


Pass Through Stick Triangle

To execute this skill players will need to use speed and deception to create time and space for themselves. Coaches should focus on good, flat tape-to-tape passes, speed when entering the zone and game-like intensity. In both drills, the slip-pass is the ideal skill to be used to beat the defender, however, players should read the situation and how the defender is playing the situation and choose alternative options if that pass it not available.

  • Drill starts on coaches whistle.
  • X and X take 2-3 hard strides and X passes the puck to X before the blueline.
  • X enters the zone wide with speed. X then delivers a pass to X underneath the stick of the attack triangle. X finishes the drill with a shot on goal.
  • Drill starts on coaches whistle.
  • D takes 2-3 backward strides and exchanges a one-touch pass with F1. Once the puck returns to F1, both they and F2 take 2-3 hard strides and F1 kicks the puck outside before the blueline.
  • F2 enters the zone with speed wide, driving the D back and then executes a pass under the triangle of the D's stick to F1 who finishes the drill with a shot on goal.

Find this drill in the OMHA Drill Share Group on CoachThem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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