Wednesday Drill of the Week: Half Ice D-Zone

Half Ice Down Low PlayA half-ice team drill this week. This is a situational defensive play drill used to practice D-Zone play. The drill starts with a puck rimmed in to the far side. Two forwards and one defenseman are on offense (X’s), while two D and two F’s (O’s) defend. On the whistle, the coach plays a puck to the down low forward on the other side of the ice. Now it becomes 5v5 in zone, with the four defensive players changing sides and the three offensive players resetting and joining the play.

This drill works on two critical elements of play in zone – keeping opponents on the perimeter and pucks changing sides. In zone, pucks changing sides of the ice can create some of the best opportunities for the offensive side. The defensive team has to change their alignment, move to new positions and survey the new scene. Training your team on how to react and how to play these situations will get them more comfortable when this happens in a game.

On the offensive side, it helps your players with playing pucks on the wall, finding creative options (using the point), protecting the puck in outnumbered situations and quick attacks when the puck changes sides. As an offensive player, when the puck changes sides is your critical moment to attack. You should instantly look to beat your man to the net and create an offensive opportunity. Seize the moment of confusion for the defense and take advantage.

 

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