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Defensive Zone Coverage

What shape do you make when you play shorthanded?  That’s right – a box.

Well, playing at full strength is really no different, except you have an extra player who can be used to provide even more defence.

We will play what is called a “Box Plus One”.  The wingers and defence make the box, the center is free to attack or cover as he sees fit.

Our box will always have one defenceman playing a man in front of the net.  That would be the defenceman away from the puck.  The defenceman closest to the puck attacks the puck when it comes towards the net.  So, our box may look a little wobbly, but you get the basic concept.

The center is free to attack anywhere in the defensive zone.  In a perfect world, the center will become what is known as the “low cover man”, a player helping out from a home base in front of the net.

Our scheme is easily understood.  Plus, when we are a man short, we just play the box, without the extra man.


Offensive Zone Puck Battles

When the puck is in their end of the ice, near their goalie, it’s time for “number hockey”.

In that zone, the offensive zone, we don’t care what position you are playing. 

First guy closest attacks the puck.  Number One attacks the puck.

Second guy supports the fight for the puck from two stick lengths away.  Number Two supports.

Third guy completes an attack triangle in case we get the puck.  Number Three gets dangerous.

If they get the puck, we MUST come back hard into our zone and take a man on the way back.  That means you find one of their guys skating into our zone and make him your man to cover.  You are responsible for him not getting the puck or taking a shot.

That man becomes your responsibility until we stop the attack. 

Then it’s back to the Box Plus One.


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There are only a few basic rules.  Once we get the puck, the following MUST be done:

1.       Defencemen MUST get open in a safe place behind or beside the play.

2.       If a defenceman has the puck, his partner MUST be open in a safe place.  He is the safety valve.  If all else fails, the puck goes to the safety valve.

3.       The winger on the side where the puck is MUST get open along the boards, as close to the hashmarks as possible.

4.       The center MUST get open up the middle.

5.       The winger on the other side MUST read the play.  Is it more likely that the puck will be ringed around to him, or passed up the ice.  If ringed, the winger MUST get to his hashmark.  If it looks like the play is moving up ice, the winger MUST break up ice fast on his wing.

6.       The puck MUST get out of the zone, whether passed of shot off the boards or flipped into the neutral zone.  No excuses.  It MUST get out.

7.       If all else fails, and even the safety valve isn’t safe, the person with the puck MUST shoot it out or, if that is not possible, carry it to safety and then try again to find somebody to pass to.

8.       If we lose the puck, the person we lose it to MUST be hit immediately.  There MUST be contact.

9.       We then go into defence mode – Box Plus One.


Line-Up – November 14 

Evan  David M    Nicholas C 

Max  Nicholas B Hugh 

Theo  Chris  Jordan 

Keaton and Justin 

Aaron and Ryan K 

Brandon and David C 





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