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Half-Ice Overload

Half-Ice Overload

Excerpt From: Hockey Plays and Strategies

In this system, the defensive group basically splits the rink in half, trying to squeeze the offensive team to one half of the ice (figure 9.9). Plays to the back side are given up but made difficult because of the number of bodies in the way and how tough it is to make the long cross ice pass. D1, F1, and D2 take care of the strong-side corner and at times will be playing the opponent three on two in that area. These three defensive players squeeze the offensive space the opponents have to work in, and once the puck is recovered, they either quickly move it up the strong side or escape out the wide side.

Figure 9.9 In the half-ice overload, the defensive team splits the rink in half.

If the defensive team has three players down in the corner, then the most important player off the puck is F3, who covers the slot but also shading to the strong side. F3 must be aware of the opponent’s third forward and cover anyone who comes to the front of the net while at the same time be looking to see if the opposing back-side defenseman down the back side, so F3 has to be aware and alert.  F2 takes away the strong-side defenseman by playing much closer to the boards, therefore denying a pass out to the strong-side point. F2 needs to start inside the circle and then move out to cut off players cycling up the boards and having an active stick to cut off passes to the point. The advantage of this system is that it is very difficult for the offensive team to find room to move and make plays on the strong side. A lot of teams like to cycle and then attack the net, but with this system, space to cycle is all but eliminated. When offensive players play against teams that use the half-ice overload, they often complain that they have no time! The one disadvantage is that quick plays to the net may result in a two on one on F3 if the opposing defenseman drives to the front of the net, but this is a difficult pass to make.

Continue Reading: Man on Man Coverage

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