The box defense is a basic play for a team that is killing a penalty. It is easy to understand and is effective for beginning and intermediate players. The four defending skaters take up positions on the ice in the shape of a square box. Each player stays on their “corner” of the box and attempts to steal the puck from the attacking team. The box shifts as the puck moves through the zone but it is very important that each defensive player maintain their relative position.
The size of the box may vary based on the attacking team’s strengths and weaknesses. A big box allows the defending team room to try to connect with attackers and stick check or steal the puck. However, a big box leaves room for wings to sneak in behind defenders.
A small box clogs up the middle and prevents garbage goals and wrap-arounds. However the defenders must be prepared for physical play and blocking shots from the point. Courage is needed for the small box.
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