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Expanding the Offensive Zone through the Point

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 12/04/20, 4:30PM EST

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The ability to create offense from the point is a required skill in today’s game. In this clip, we see how to the ability to manipulate your body around the puck and get pucks to the net without being blocked is a skill that extends offensive zone time and second and third scoring opportunities.

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.

  • PHI25 wins possession of the puck and walks up the wall looking for passing options
  • PHI22 sees PHI25 coming up the wall and drives diagonally through the middle of the ice
  • This pulls LAK22 with him this open up the top third of the offensive zone
  • PHI9 reads this and identifies this open ice in the shooting funnel and actively checks-in to provide option
  • PHI9 skates to the middle of the ice offering support to PHI22
  • PHI9 is facing PHI22 to offer a simple, available passing option – skates pointing to the passer and his stick on the ice, in front of his body
  • LAK22 has been pulled into the lane of his teammate LAK9 and delays his ability to get out to the point where PHI9 has a massive amount of space
  • PHI9 receives the puck with a ’soft-catch’ – catching the puck in front of his body
  • As he catches the puck, he wraps his hips around the puck
  • This allows him to stay in the shooting funnel, to get his toes turned and pointing towards the net – all without a single stickhandle
  • The soft catch allows him keep the puck in a ‘loaded’ position and the absence of a stickhandle gives him the ability to keep his head up the entire time, reading pressure, options and shooting lane

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.
  • LAK9 still hasn’t received to create pressure on PHI9, in fact, the defender LAK6 ends up being the closest defending player to pressure the point
  • PHI9 keeps his head up throughout and ensures this puck gets through without being blocked and also without the need to the big wind-up and slap shot.
Watch the video again and focus on the ‘soft catch’ and wrapping around the puck to change body position without handling the puck.

Here is a similar situation from the 2020 playoffs, PHI9 showcases his signature ability to attack open ice and provide support, to catch the puck and load his shot without a stickhandle and successfully get puck through traffic.


Soft Catch Drills

In order to execute this skill, players will need to focus on receiving the pass with a “soft catch” which will allow them to load their shot without the use of a stickhandle. By wrapping their body around the puck, this will allow the player to stay in the shooting lane with their toes turned and pointed towards the net. Players should have their head up the entire time, reading their options and ensuring the shot gets through to the net without being blocked.
Player jumps off the wall and walks the blue line, transitioning forwards to backwards. When transitioning to backwards, the player has to wrap their hips around the puck. Do this until the middle of the ice and end with a shot on net.

D1 jumps off the wall backwards and receives a pass from D2.  D1 receives the pass with a “soft catch” and lets the puck come across their body, with no stickhandle and shoots on net from the middle of the ice.

After the first shot, D1 skates back along the blue line towards D2 and receives a second pass.  D1 receives the pass with a “soft catch”, wraps their hips around the puck with no stickhandle and takes a shot on goal with their toes facing the net.  

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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