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Video Coach

Creating Mismatches High in the Offensive Zone

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 02/18/22, 1:45PM EST


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As we have discussed many times in Video Coach – time and space are at a premium in today’s game. Defensively, we are seeing teams collapse down low to take away time and space, and outnumber the offensive team down low

So where is space available and how do we counter this tactic to create mismatches in the offensive zone?

Here we go! 

  • NYI are in good defensive position with 5 players ‘in-screen’ below the top of the circle and the puck outside the dots 
  • BOS37 retrieves the puck at the half-wall off the cycle and pushes the puck back down the wall to BOS88
  • BOS63 provides close support and switches with BOS37 to take the high-man position
  • With the puck back down low, BOS is working 2v3 below the hashmarks.
  • BOS88 retrieves the puck moving up the wall
  • BOS37 scissors with him shielding against NYI29 and forcing a switch of defenders.
  • BOS63 as the high-man finds space between checks at the top of the circle as a passing option
  • All NYI players remain in screen and continue to outnumber BOS below the hashmarks.
  • The forced-switch provides space for BOS88 to move the puck low-to-high in the zone to BOS48 at the point.
  • Defensively, NYI 18 has slid in to take away BOS63 as an option.
  • The puck movement low to high immediately flips the mismatch
  • BOS63 provides a middle option between the two D-men and creates a high 3v2
  • BOS73 has pulled wide to make the offensive zone as big as possible
  • In doing this, NYI18 leaves BOS63 to pressure the point
  • BOS48 zips the puck east-west to BOS73
  • BOS63 continues to skate into space high in the zone in the middle of the ice 
  • From this view, you can see how BOS has created space by making the zone as big as possible and spreading out  the NYI coverage
  • The high 3v2 becomes a 2v1 as BOS73 passes to BOS63 in the middle of the ice as NYI18 continues to pressure the puck

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  • BOS63 catches the puck high in the zone and attacks downhill to open ice
  • NYI3 is caught with a massive gap between himself and BOS63
  • BOS73 initiates his jump past NYI18 
  • BOS63 drives the middle and establishes himself as a shooting threat and creates another 3v2 drawing NYI3 to him
  • BOS88 presents himself on the dot for a one-time shooting option
  • BOS73 has now jumped past NYI18 
  • BOS63 looks to BOS88 as a decoy and slips the pass to BOS73 who receives the puck with an open lane to the net
  • BOS73 continues drive the net
  • BOS88 remains a 1T option through the hashmark seam 
  • BOS37 recognizes this and fights to establish net front position as a screen and also rebound positioning 

Watch the video again to see how Boston breaks the defensive zone coverage by making the zone bigger by moving the puck low-to-high and east-west and stretching the coverage followed by activating defencemen and creating a 3v2 mismatch high in the zone.

Coaches – focus on creating off-man situations and developing puck skills in all players. Lastly, overcome the fear of moving the puck in the middle of the ice and embrace the simple principles of creating off-man situations and simply ‘moving to puck to where the other team isn’t'.

High Cycle - Middle of the Ice


  • 2 lines near blue line.
  • Middle line shoots on net, then skates to corner to retrieve puck.
  • Line closest to boards skates down wall, to pick up cycle pass from first forward, who then goes to the net for a return pass and shot on goal.

Key Points:

  • 2 lines near blue line
  • Middle line shoots on net, then skates to corner to retrieve puck.
  • Line closest to boards skates down wall, picks up cycle pass from first skater who then goes to the net for a return pass and shot on goal

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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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