Players will love this dynamic flow drill which creates a quick counterattack. Your team’s transition game will really benefit from this drill!
Explanation of the Drill
This is a full ice drill with goalies in both ends and the forwards ultimately attacking the defencemen in both directions. The coach has pucks at the red-line on the boards. The defencemen are in a line to the blue-lines on the boards closest to the coach, split evenly, with half the defencemen on each blue-line, tight to the boards. If you have eight defencemen, (four on each blue-line) you will run 3-on-2s and if you have four to six defencemen you can run 2-on-1s. You can also run 3-on-2s with six defencemen by using a slight variation of the drill (see options). The forwards are lined up to the blue-lines, tight to the boards opposite the coach and split evenly between the blue-lines. To start the drill, if you are running 3-on-2s, two defencemen jump off one blue-line and set up on the red-line in the middle of the ice ready to defend. Two defencemen then come off the opposite blueline and skate towards the two defencemen at the red-line. Once they reach the red-line, these two defencemen will slide and then transition forwards to backwards, skating backwards away from the red-line and the two defencemen who are getting ready to defend. The coach then short dumps or spots the puck behind these two defencemen who are backing up. At the same time three forwards (a line) come off the blue-line at the far boards on the opposite side to the end that these two defencemen are backing into. One defenceman will retrieve the puck that the coach has soft dumped into the zone and turn up quickly with the puck. This defenceman will then pass the puck D-to-D to his or her partner. The three forwards will regroup, take the pass from the “breakout” defenceman and attack 3-on-2 on the two defending D-men towards the end at which they started. The two breakout defenceman will follow the forwards up the ice until the breakout defencemen reach the red-line where they will stop and get ready to defend the next rush coming from the opposite direction. Once the attacking forwards get past the offensive blue-line on their rush, the next two defencemen on the blue-line at the same end will skate hard forwards up to the red-line and will slide to transition forwards to backwards and skate back towards the end where the forwards are attacking. The coach will soft dump or spot a puck behind these defencemen and the defenceman closest to the puck will pivot and turn to retrieve the puck. This defenceman will pass D-to-D to his or her partner and the next three forwards on the far boards at the opposite end will come off the boards and regroup to take a pass from these “breakout” defencemen to attack the two new defending defencemen. This 3-on-2 will run in the opposite direction to the first 3-on-2. The drill will then continue to repeat itself with the coach short dumping the puck into alternate ends.
This drill has great flow and great energy. There are lots of variations and options to the drill. Players learn quick ups and break outs in the neutral zone, how to regroup and be in good position for a pass, how to develop speed through the neutral zone and how to attack and defend off the rush.
You can run 1-on-1s, 2-on-1s, 2-on-2s and 3-on-2’s off this drill. Once the players are comfortable with the drill, the coach can add some pressure as a forechecker in the neutral zone after dumping the puck in. The coach can also wait until the rush is completed and dump the puck in deeper into the zone for a full breakout. The coach can also pass the puck directly to the defencemen as they are backing up off the red line for a very quick regroup and counter attack. The forwards must react and adjust to wherever the puck is dumped in or moved. One coach can also be available to back check to add some back pressure on the rush or to create a 3-on-3 on the rush.
If you only have six defence and want to run 3-on-2s with a variation of the drill, you don’t need the two defencemen on the red-line to defend to start the drill. Have the players do a second regroup to a coach at the far blueline, before attacking the defenceman that broke the puck out.
You can also encourage your defencemen to jump into the rush by running 2-on-1s off this drill and then have the defenceman that breaks the puck out jump into the rush to make it a 3-on-1. In this variation two defencemen jump out on the drill every time, one defending and one who will break out and then jump into the rush and join the attack.