Thinking the Game: Dissecting the 2 on 1, Part 2November 7, 2012If you missed Part 1, be sure to check it out if you haven't had the time yet.
In Part 2, we provide some tips to help the forwards score goals on a 2 on 1 break. In general, the forward's job is to apply as much pressure on the defensive players as possible. You want to make it hard for the goalie and defensemen to play against you. How do you do this? Well, let's take a look.
Tip 1 - Keep your Speed
The first benefit of keeping your speed up is that it makes it harder for the defensemen to stay between you and your forward partner. It's usually easier to skate forward than backward and when you move fast, you force the defense to work harder to stop you.
Second, when you keep your speed as high as possible, you distance yourself from oncoming backcheckers. If the team you are playing works hard, you can be sure that they will be chasing you from behind. The faster you move forward, the longer it takes them to catch you. KEEP MOVING THOSE FEET!
Tip 2 - Work the middle of the ice
The middle of the ice is prime real estate in the game of hockey. From the middle of the ice on a 2 on 1 you have more options in front of you. Better shooting angle, Better passing angle, shorter pass, a better chance at a rebound, and the list could go on. Whether you are with or without the puck, don't let yourself drift too far outside because you will be taking yourself out of the play. Force yourself to get close to the middle of the ice.
Tip 3 - Pass early enough to make a play
If you think you have a passing lane, don't wait before it closes to make the pass. The longer you wait to make a pass during a 2 on 1, the more obstacles you have to deal with: Less room to pass, Goalie pokecheck, sliding defensemen. Get the goalie and defense to move early and you will have more success. Otherwise, SHOOT THE PUCK!
Tip 4 - Hit the net
When you decide that you are going to shoot the puck, it is essential that you hit the net. Your partner should be driving hard looking for rebounds. You don't want their effort to be wasted. It seems like a simple Tip, but it is often overlooked. Everybody wants the highlight reel goals, but if you can't hit the net, you have no chance of scoring. When you put the puck on net, the goalie may or may not make the save, but at least you have a shot at scoring or a rebound.
Tip 5 - Stop at the Net
80% of goals are scored within a 10 foot radius of the crease. You can't afford to skate by the net in case there is a juicy rebound waiting for you. This is true for both the shooter and the person driving the net. Don't be lazy and skate by the net or circle away. Hit the brakes and look for loose pucks. You just might be rewarded for it.
Remember from Part 1: Each player must be Responsible for his job and Trust that their teammate will do the same.
For the forward without the puck:
Responsibility: Drive hard to the net, stick on the ice, alert and ready for a pass or rebound
For the forward with the puck:
Responsibility: Skate hard, work the middle of the ice as much as possible, and HIT THE NET if you shoot.
I Trust you picked up at least one helpful tip from this post. Stay tuned for more game situations in the future!