Three on Three
Three on Three
Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies
The backchecker must identify the player he is covering. Some teams like their backchecker in the wide lane and some like him in the mid-ice lane, so the defensemen adjust according to the team’s system. Usually the backchecker will take the highest player unless he is already in position to take the wide player. Keep your stick off the body of the free player so you don’t take a penalty and get good body position. Good body position is where you are close enough to the player to take his stick and at the same time keep an eye on where the puck is (figure 8.7).
Figure 8.7 The backchecker taking the highest player.
If the backchecker is coming back through mid-ice, he should leave any drive players to the defense and pick up the higher areas. Therefore, if the middle offensive player drives the net looking for a pass or deflection then this player would be covered by D2. F1 must look around for the third forward and move to check him. Sometimes F1 will have to overplay the outside area if this forward is wider. As the play gets below the circles, he should lock onto his check (figure 8.8).
Figure 8.8 The backchecker leaving the drive and taking the highest player.
If the team’s neutral zone system has the first forward back locking the wide lane (figure 8.9), then on three-on-three rushes the forward should stay with the player in this lane, and the defensemen will adjust to cover the middle and strong side. This becomes more of a man on man coverage when the play enters the defensive zone.
Finally, if the backcheckers are instructed to hound the puck, then with all three-on-three rushes the backchecking forward will usually have the strong side while D1 will shift to the middle and D2 will take the wide or backside lane.
Figure 8.9 The three on three if the team’s neutral zone has the first forward back locking the wide lane.