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Stretching the Zone: Low-High Plays

Stretching the Zone: Low-High Plays

Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies

With many teams playing a collapsing defensive style (one where all five defenders play low in the offensive zone), it is often difficult in the attacking zone to penetrate the net area without using low-high plays. Low-high plays spread out the defense and create opportunities to get the puck to scoring areas with more time and space. This strategy must be identified before a game as part of the game plan.

Offensive players with the puck make a quick pass to the point (F1 to D1) when they get the puck low or possibly recover a loose rebound in the corner (figure 4.5). D1 can now make a decision to shoot, move the puck to D2, or pass back to one of the forwards. Having the puck move from down low to the blue line creates a gap in the defensive alignment because the defensive wingers try to rush to their point coverage, leaving space between them and their defense. When all five defensive players are down low, the scoring area is crowded; getting the defensive wingers to move out high creates more space in the slot. Each time defenders scramble to defend the high blue line area, there is opportunity for offensive players to find more time and space to create better offensive chances low. Also, the shot from the point, through traffic, is still a primary option to create scoring chances.

Figure 4.5 Stretching the zone.

Continue Reading: Activating Defense in the Offensive Zone

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