In this short video clip from the Bruins vs. Leafs game the other night we share a Neutral Zone (NZ) turnover that turns into an odd man rush (3 against 2). The teaching points:
- Forwards back checking must know their role in man coverage, F1-F3 must know their individual responsibilities,
- The first forward back checking (F1) generally tries to play the puck carrier in the NZ up to the red line. If F1 can’t force a turnover by the red line the puck carrier is generally left to the D-pairing,
- F2 in this video, Matthews #34 does not pick up his winger and allows him to go to the net for a return pass from the Centre that results in a goal against.
A pressure play by a defensive forward in the NZ is back checking at full speed, picking up man coverage on the defensive side of the puck and taking your man to the net to prevent him from getting a pass from his teammates attacking the net. The defensive forward must take his man to the net to prevent the rebound opportunity as well.
Back checking is a pressure defensive puck support hockey play. Every young forward must practice back checking at full speed. Understand what getting on the defensive side of the puck means and take your coverage assignment to the net with your stick under your opponent’s stick to prevent him from making a play on net.
Watch this short video. Forwards and defensemen must communicate coverages verbally and ensure an odd man rush is avoided. This should not have been a three against two. There was back pressure support but the defensive forward #34 failed to pick up his man. This was a 3-3 which should have been defended – routine play.