Triangulation Puck Support – The formation of or division into triangles of the ice surface by Offensive Players without the puck for the purpose of:
- Setting quality passing lane options to support the Puck Carrier,
- Advancement of the puck and,
- The ability of the Offensive Team to retain puck possession & control.
Introduction of the Concept with Players
Young competitive players benefit from learning how to support the puck offensively early in their development. The geometric term to triangulate in sports has been used by coaches in many different sports like soccer, basketball, hockey and others for years. The higher the level of play and competition, the greater the need for support of the puck/ball offensively to advance the puck/ball in space. One against one is one of the easiest plays in sports to defend so we should encourage the learning of how to support the puck offensively as a group. Every offensive player on the ice benefits from structured support of the puck because when executed properly these players get the opportunity to play more with the puck to create scoring chances. Fun, right?
Triangulation Puck Support is necessary for the successful execution of offensive tactics and not limited to the following:
☑︎Defensive Zone Breakouts, ☑︎Neutral Zone Regroups, ☑︎Attack Rush Play, ☑︎Offensive Zone Tactics like the Cycle, Down Low Game (below hash marks) to advance the puck on net down low below the hash marks, taking the puck to the net from above the hash marks, ☑︎Power Play Breakouts, ☑︎Offensive Zone Play, and ☑︎Puck Recovery Battle Exits, essentially all offensive tactics.
The concept of triangulating as an offensive tactic is important for the following reasons:
- Players should only be taught set plays in specialty game situations or for key moments.
- Players should be creative in their play making to read and react to what defenders are giving them in situations.
- Encourages players to use common sense in their movement of themselves and the puck to make plays.
- Supports players finding open ice (space) above, below, adjacent to the puck offensively to set quality passing lanes (good angle).
- Players can apply the concept when the group contracts (tight spaces) or expands the ice surface to advance the puck.
- Supports players moving their feet into open ice to set a quality passing lane which opens up ice and opportunities for members of the Offensive Group.
- Players exploit Defensive Zone Coverage Schemes (seams/lanes) forcing teams to play more man coverage.
- Supports a player’s development.
Use of the Ice Surface – Set a Good Passing Lane (Angle)
Whether you are in tight space or using the width and depth of the ice surface it is absolutely essential the player with the puck has a minimum of two passing options. Use of the ice surface to set a good passing lane may require players to come back to the puck or be creative to find open ice to set a good passing lane angle.
Timing in Execution
Passing lanes open and close in the matter of seconds. The timing of a player’s movement into open space to set a passing lane (triangulate) is one of the keys to supporting the puck. Players need to exploit seams/lanes in zone coverage and separate from their man coverage to support the puck offensively. The process requires players to work hard to move their feet to find open ice and develop an awareness of the importance of timing in their execution of player and puck movement.
Give & Goes & Change of Direction
Players should be encouraged to be creative in their support of the puck. We don’t see enough give and goes in today’s game. There should be more outnumbering/overloading puck side and in tight spaces to advance the puck by working two on one’s and three on two’s. Better support of the puck in all three zones is critical to positioning a team to win the puck possession and control game. More stops and starts in tight spaces to work give and goes.
A term often referred to in defensive play but equally important in offensive play and support of the puck. Having a “Swivel Head” is a term used to describe improving a player’s line of sight to quickly see the positioning of players on the ice surface. A Swivel Head is essential for Offensive Players to recognize a defensive structure, location of defenders and offensive players and open ice to make plays.
Strong Technical Hockey Skills
To play a strong offensive puck support game players’ need to have strong technical hockey skills. Passing (giving and receiving), puck control (stick handling), skating skills (change in direction, tight turns, acceleration).
Application of the Concept
The Triangulation Concept should be coached with age appropriate groups capable of grasping and executing the concept. The concept fits in nicely when running SAGs.
The video below is shared to demonstrate a few situations where the players without the puck are moving to support the puck carrier and advancement of the puck.