Breakout up the Boards

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Break out plays are used when your team has gained possession of the puck in your defensive zone. This break out play is probably the most basic and all teams should be able to execute it. It takes advantage of the natural distance between the wing on your team and the Defensive player (“D”) on the other team.

The play starts with your team D gaining possession of the puck in the corner (green D in the animation.) The D then skates behind the net and is pursued by a forechecker (brown W.) Had the forechecker been absent the D could have moved up ice for a center break out play.

As the forechecker closes the gap to the D with the puck, your right wing moves from the high slot to the middle of the face off circle. This is the critical element of this play as your wing must stay as far away from the other team’s D as is possible. If the wing does not move away from the opposing D on the point the D may intercept the pass.  The most basic position for the wing is parallel with the face off dot and with their butt on the boards.  They can then move as the wing comes around the net.

As your D skates out from behind the net they must make a quick and accurate pass to their right wing. The easiest pass to catch is one in which the wing is skating toward the passing D. The wing then makes a tight turn to skate up ice. The other option is to feather the pass in front of the wing so they can skate into it. Be sure to pass to the wings forehand if possible. Leading a breaking wing is one of the skills all Ds need and if you cannot do it, you need to go to your local rink and practice. You can also develop this eye-hand skill by playing football and throwing passes to moving players.

Another variation on this breakout is for the D with the puck to pass the puck much more quickly and direct it around the boards.   Unfortunately this frequently tends to be a “desperation” move when a forechecker is very close, so the D must be sure their wing is in a position to catch the pass as it comes around the boards.  However, if used correctly,  this variation can surprise the other team and open up the breakout very quickly for your team.

You can watch these plays on your computer or you can learn about them on the ice.  Attend Lifetime Hockey’s schools in Minnesota and really improve your play.  Click here and find out more.

Break out plays are used when your team has gained possession of the puck in your defensive zone. This break out play is probably the most basic and all teams should be able to execute it. It takes advantage of the natural distance between the wing on your team and the Defensive player (“D”) on the other team.