Back Checking Forwards – Defending the Attack Rush

Getting Defensive Position on Your Opponent

In the video clip below you see a goal scored by an offensive player going to the net for a rebound. The offensive player gets offensive position on the defenders by getting between his opponents and the net to score. This is an all too frequent scenario that happens on the Attack Rush when defenders fail to get into their coverage assignments. Defenders must get defensive position on their opponents when defending against the Attack Rush. Know your roles and how to execute them to become a complete player.

Roles & Responsibilities of Defenders – Blue Line IN

  • Forwards must pick up their individual player coverage assignment entering the defensive zone. Leave the puck carrier to the strong side D.
  • The weak side D moves into middle ice when their partner pressures the puck carrier to take the puck outside the dots.
  • Forwards entering the defensive zone get defensive position on opponents entering the zone, to support the D pairing.
  • Communicate player coverage assignments (verbal and/or non verbal).
  • Defensive position means getting on the opponent’s inside shoulder (shoulder to shoulder), boxing out the offensive player (protecting middle ice). The defensive player should be positioned to get their stick under the opponent’s at any time to tap up to take away a stick on puck opportunity.
  • Defensive players take their check assignment to the net. No offensive player should be allowed to skate past a defender uncovered into open ice in the net or slot zones.
  • If the offensive player stops, the defensive player stops, and gets defensive position on the offensive player. Head always on a swivel and be in a strong hockey position.
  • If a defending player is late catching up to an offensive player, don’t stop skating and at the very least get position from behind to get your stick under the opponent’s (tap up) to prevent stick on puck opportunities.
  • Once the Attack Rush threat is thwarted and there is a loose puck opportunity, defenders pressure up as a group on the loose puck to regain puck possession and control to exit the zone.

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