Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies
Dumping the puck in is one counter option when players are confronted. Some teams like to designate where to always dump the puck so that skaters off the puck will know which area to move forward. There are four options for players when dumping the puck.
This is effective because if forces the defensive team to switch coverage from one side of the ice to the other, and in doing so they may lose a defensive position. Effective cross-corner dumps also give the offensive team a change to get to the puck first. Make sure when dumping the puck that it does not move into the area where the goaltender can play it. Try to dead corner it by placing it in the corner so it stops there (figure 2.2).
Figure 2.2 Cross-corner dump-in.
HARD, WIDE RIM
The puck carrier shoots the puck into the zone so that it rims around the boards and comes up the wide side for the wide winger to retrieve (figure 2.3). Make sure it is hard enough so that the goaltender cannot stop it behind the net. This will be a difficult puck for the winger to get off the boards, so he should stop it first then protect it and look for a play. As in the previous strategy, quickly changing sides with the puck usually results in the defensive team losing their position in the zone when they adjust to the puck.
Figure 2.3 Hard, wide rim.
Much like the cross-corner dump, the intent of this strategy is to have the puck stop in the near corner (figure 2.4). When pressured in the neutral zone, the puck carrier lays the puck behind pressure by shooting it into the near corner for a supporting teammate. Most opposing defensemen will try to stay up on the puck carrier, which will allow the supporting offensive forward to get to the puck first. Often with a same-side dump, the puck carrier has enough speed that he can jump around the defensemen and get to the puck first.
Figure 2.4 Same-side dump-in.
PUTTING THE PUCK ON NET
When watching sports highlights, you will often see a player skating through the neutral zone, faking a dump-in to the corner, and then surprising the goaltender by shooting the puck on net (figure 2.5). At times it will go in, but this is rare. The strategy is that is catches the goaltender by surprise and forces him to make a play. Many goalies have trouble stick handling and passing the puck, so this tactic often forces the opposing defensemen to hurry back and receive a below-average pass from the goaltender to start the breakout. If the goaltender you are playing against is a weak passer, this option may be a good strategy. Also, some shots are hard to goaltenders to handle, so they simply direct the puck into the corner, which makes for a very difficult play for the defensemen. They have to retrieve the puck and then turn around and make a play while under heavy forechecking pressure. Most of the time when a rebound is created by a long shot on goal, the offensive team has as good a chance of recovering the puck as the defensive team.
Figure 2.5 Putting the puck on net.
Continue Reading: Odd-Man Rushes and Breakaways