● Carry the puck in or dump it? Whenever possible, you want to carry the puck into the zone and maintain possession of the puck. It will be important for the puck carrier to read two important aspects as they approach the offensive blue line. The first is the gap control of the retreating defensemen and the second, how much offensive support do you have?
► If the opposing defensemen are maintaining tight gap control then the puck carrier will more than likely dump the puck. If this is the option you want to dump the puck all the way in and put it into a place that makes it the most difficult for the opposing defenseman to collect the puck and start their breakout. If you are dumping the puck for a line change- get it DEEP.
► If the gap is loose then you want to exploit the opposing defensemen, especially if the puck carrier has one or more teammates supporting the attack. If you carry the puck in and need to wait for support, make sure you get as deep as you can and look to delay until support arrives.
● Forecheckers first thought in the offensive zone is to be aggressive!!! If you are going to make a mistake, make it by being too aggressive, not too passive.
● Be Creative in the offensive zone- All forechecks should put your team in position to transition quickly to offense in a way that creates quality scoring chances. It is important for everyone to be involved (forwards & Defenseman) and look for opportunities to be creative and get the puck to the net. Do not pass the puck blindly. If you are struggling to make a play, make the other team take the puck away from you rather than risk blindly handing it over to them.
● Know the responsibilities of other positions- In all offensive systems, the positions can be interchangeable depending on the situation. In order to be most effective, you need to be able to read and react, to interchange positions based on the situations, and to use your puck support habits to your advantage.
● Defensemen must hustle up the ice to get to the offensive zone
● Anticipate- Hockey is all about creating as many odd-man situations as possible and if you can get your support players in position quicker than the other team, you will gain and maintain possession of the puck more often and more effectively.