skip navigation
Video Coach

How to Use the Fourth Man to Join the Offensive Attack

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 12/23/17, 9:00AM EST


Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

The ability to transition quickly from defence to offence is the margin of difference in many hockey games today.

Let's look at how teams must use speed and smart decision-making to create odd-man situations in order to create offensive opportunities.

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

  • This play starts with the puck 200 feet away from the opposition’s net.
  • The puck is played in front of the NYR net and a simple accident sets the entire play into action…
  • NYI16 & NYI91 cross feet and fall in front of the NYR net and immediately – four NYR players jump into the rush with speed.
  • Important to note that NYR18 – the third player is a defenceman and NYR73 is a forward who has beat his check off the wall and this created a 4v2 rush.
  • NYR40 establishes middle lane presence  with the puck.
  • This forces NYI2 & NYI3 to stay narrow and protect the middle of the ice.
  • NYR40 & NYR13 identify and create a 2v1 mismatch within the 2v2
  • NYR40 ‘kicks’ the puck wide to NYR13 who is skating through the dot-line with speed
  • NYR13 enters the zone wide  pulling NYI2 outside the dot-line and creating space in the middle of the ice.
  • NYR13 also slows and delays once he has gained the blueline, setting up the following:
  • NYR40 drives the middle lane into space behind NYI2 and this forces NYI3 to back-peddle.
  • NYR18 drives the dot-line on the weak-side
  • NYR73 enters the zone in the middle of the ice into open space in front of NYI3
  • NYI73 receives the puck in space in the middle of the ice in space
  • NYI25 is applying back pressure but is still a couple of strides behind
  • NYI2 is completely out of the play, well outside the dot-line
  • NYI3 is at a decision point – step-up to face NYR73? Or; continue to retreat backwards and limit passing lanes to NYR 18 & NYR40?
  • NYR73 elects to shoot on net keeping the puck low
  • NYI3 is trapped in ‘no-man’s land’ and does the only thing he can in this situation, tries to block the shot
  • NYR18 & NYR40 continue to drive to the net to the post on their side with their sticks available on the ice.
  • NYR73’s low shot creates a rebound – effectively an indirect pass – and NYR40 puts the rebound into the net.

Watch the video again to see the importance quick transition from defence to offence and creating odd-man situations by having the 4th man join the rush and how defencemen must read when and how to jump in on the attack.

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 last year's 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."

Like this article?

Share with your friends on Facebook and join the largest network of hockey parents.


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.

you may also like

Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach
Video Coach