One of my biggest disappointments when watching a ‘AA’ or ‘AAA’ team play is when there is a complete absence of the need to defend the NZ. You often see three forwards with their eyes focused on the puck carrier and no understanding of how to defend. What you will also often see is the defending teams’ D pairing positioned deep in the NZ almost at their own blue line – stationary.
Please review the document shared below on defending the NZ. Good teams play with pressure. A few tactical “pressure” keys are 1) the D pairing playing proper GAP control in the NZ, 2) strong defensive puck support which prevents a carry of the puck through the NZ, 3) Forcing the offensive team to turnover the puck because their are no open passing lanes, the puck carrier is being skated off into the boards and the offensive team has no option but to dump the puck in.
Make sure you implement a NZ forechecking tactic played with pressure so your team is having fun and moving out there. Shifts should never last more than 45 seconds if the kids are playing with pressure. The document link: DEFENDING THE NZ