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  • This will be the first of many (hopefully) posts about different scenarios that a hockey player must face in the game of hockey. It will be our goal to analyze and provide some helpful tips and ideas for the best way to approach each situation we discuss. We hope hope that players, parents, and coaches find these posts beneficial for helping everybody better understand this beautiful game we all play.

    We start this series with some thoughts on the 2 on 1 rush from a Defensive perspective. This situation doesn't have to be a nightmare for the goalie or defensemen if played properly. As defenders, the 2 key words that we want you to remember when playing a 2 on 1 are: TRUST and RESPONSIBILITY. Remember those 2 words. Remember those 2 words. We will explain them at the end.

    But first, 7 tips to help you with 2 on 1's 


    Tip 1 - Always stay between the puck and the man without the puck
    It is important that you do not stay between each forward, but between where the puck currently is and the other player without the puck. If you position yourself between the players, it allows for an easy backdoor pass behind you. You have to remember that in hockey we use sticks which add reach for the puck carrier. Always make sure you say between the puck and the man to take away the best passing lane.
    Tip 2 - Do not over commit to the puck carrier
    This is very important. Your job in a 2 on 1 is to take away the passing lane across ice. If you over commit to the player with the puck and miss on a body check or stick check, it makes it hard on your goalie and easy for the attackers to make a play. Stay patient and force the puck carrier to have to make a play.
    Tip 3 - Play off the near side post
    This goes along with Tip 2, but the defender should usually try and play off the near side post on the puck side. This prevents the puck carrier from coming to the middle of the ice to get a better shooting angle. It also gives you the shortest distance to close on the puck carrier as you get closer to the net. If you play off the far side post, the puck carrier will have more time to make a decision. Don't let that happen. Make him work to make a good play.
    Tip 4 - Take away the ice. Make yourself big
    Everybody knows that a saucer pass is much harder than a regular flat forehand pass.....especially when moving at full speed. The goal for a defense men is to take away as much ice surface as possible while still being able to move and converge on a loose puck or rebound. It is good to note that you should reserve sliding to take the pass away until the last possible moment otherwise the player with the puck can easily skate around you to the net.


    Tip 1 - Focus on the shooter
    Your first and main job is to stop the puck. Do not worry about the man without the puck. That is not your responsibility. Your focus should be on the attacker that has the puck and making sure you are ready to stop the puck if he shoots it.
    Tip 2 - Limit Rebounds
    In the event that there is a direct shot, you must work on directing the rebounds away from the front of the net. This is obviously a key skill for a goalie, but essential in a 2 on 1. The player without the puck is waiting for a big juicy rebound and it is partly your job to make sure you don't give them one. Make sure that puck ends up in an area outside the front of the net.
    Tip 3 - Play the angle
    Part of focusing on the player with the puck is making their job harder. Take away as much angle for the attacker to shoot so that his decision between shooting and passing is harder. If you give him plenty of room to walk in and shoot, his decision and ease of play is made easier. If you give him nothing to shoot at, he is left with a tough decision of passing which leads to an easier job for your fellow defense men.
    Back to TRUST and RESPONSIBILITY. The reason I told you to remember these two words is because they are essentially the key ingredients to successfully defending a 2 on 1.

    A defense men must trust his goalie to make a save. A goalie must trust his defensemen to prevent the back door pass.


    Everybody on the team has a specific job to do. In this case, each player (the goalie and the defensemen) has a specific job. You must know what you are supposed to do and practice your key responsibility so that you can do it well.
    When each player knows their responsibility, is prepared to do it in a game, and trusts that their teammates will do the same, good things happen on the ice.
    We hope you enjoyed this post on some helpful ways to play a 2 on 1. Stay tuned for part 2 where we will talk about some tips for forwards playing a 2 on 1.

    Do you have any thoughts? What do you struggle with most playing the 2 on 1?