Breakout up the Center
Break out plays are used when your team has gained possession of the puck in your defensive zone. This break out play is one of the the most basic and all teams should be able to execute it. It takes advantage of the natural distance between defensive player (the “D”) with the puck and the lack of forecheckers from 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 toward the net and is realizes that they are not being tightly pursued by a forechecker (brown C.) The forecheckers may be absent due to a mistake on their part or a line change (in this case.)
The D with the puck skates toward center ice. This is a crucial move as it makes all players on the other team move to the defense and thereby opens up passing lanes. The D then passes to the center who passes quickly to a breaking wing. It is critical that the D makes a short and accurate pass to their center as a sloppy pass will leave the puck in front of the net for an easy shot by the other team.
A variation on this play is for the D to make a longer pass to a breaking wing in the neutral zone. This pass needs to be very accurate or interception is risked. However, an accurate pass to a breaking teammate that is on their stick is one of the sweetest hockey plays in the game. The wing has picked up enough speed to blow by the other teams defense and frequently can get a solo rush on the goalie.
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.