Welcome to the second EASHL Film Session! In this series, we break down skater or goalie gameplay sent by you guys as a means to improve our EASHL game.
If you ever want your play reviewed feel free to post a comment below or you can contact me on twitter or by e-mail. You don’t have to be on a club, this is open to individuals as well. Today’s game-play comes from Kila Kali. They are a Div 1 5s club on the PS4. Here is what I saw.
Tip #1 – Using Defenseman on the Breakout
First of all you guys do a good job breaking the puck out quickly with some nice 1-touch passes. One thing I want to highlight for everybody is realizing when a defenseman can be used on the breakout. Green has the puck, there’s no passing lane to the other forwards, and yellow is covered as well. Teal does a great job taking the open space in front of him and basically becomes the 3rd forward for this breakout.
Dman does a great job taking the open space and becomes the 3rd forward for the breakout.
Tip #2 – When a Defenseman Can play Forward
Keep looking for for situations like this not only in transition, but in the offensive zone as well. Here’s a perfect example. When green is skating from left to right, look at this open space for teal. Even though he’s a defenseman, don’t be afriad to play forward when the situation calls for it. Trust that your teammate will cover for you and that will help emphasize a good two-way game, and create longer puck possession.
With green skating form left to right, teal should once again take the open space in front of him. Even though he’s a defenseman, its OK to rotate and play forward if the situation calls for it.
Tip #3 – Stopping the Breakout
Now that we’ve talked transition offense, lets go to transition defense. The defensemen like to immediately start skating the back the moment the other team gets the puck and although it sounds good and it guarantees there won’t be a breakaway, what you’re not doing is reading the situation.
When you immediately back up, look at the open space you create for the other team. Two passes later and they end up in the slot, fortunately a good backcheck ends that threat. Now focus on reading where the breakout pass is most likely headed and prepare yourself for it. At this moment the easiest pass for them is this guy on our left.
Let’s say our D-men stayed at the blue line, maybe this pass doesn’t look that appealing to them anymore and if they do pass it, teal’s ready to make a play anyway. Most lot of the time you will start drifting skating back, but find out who your forwards don’t have covered and that will be a big hint for where you can position yourselves to defend the breakout.
There’s no breakaway threat so backing up just gives the other team free space.
Reading the Situation (Mistake) – The only open player is the person to the left. If the defenseman held the blue line, they could’ve made a defensive stop the moment the pass happens and keep the puck in their zone.
Reading the Situation (Correct) – Teal notices Green has the puck carrier covered. Knowing this, Teal will cover the closest passing threat in his area. If the pass comes, he’s prepared to make an immediate stop!
Tip #4 – Hitting as the Last Defender?
This next tip will easily be the ‘meanest’ thing I say to you guys, but you said I could in the email. PLEASE STOP GOING FOR HITS WHEN YOU ARE THE LAST DEFENDER!!! It was weird to watch becuase as a team the 5 of you work really well in the defensive end, but once in a while I’ll see a guy try to be a hero and it leads to a free goal.
If you get the big hit, you get the puck back but your team still has to travel 3/4 of the ice to score a goal. If you miss, it’s a breakaway. Is it really worth going for the hit as the last defender? Probably not.
When you’re the last defender, is it really worth going for that big hit?
Tip #5 – Mixing up the Shots
Last but not least, you guys do a good job racking up the shots and it’s a variety of shots so your team isn’t stuck to one gameplan. There’s cross creases, shortside shots, rebounds and deflection attempts. I just want to throw out a reminder to not be afraid to pass up a regular shot for the sake of creating a quality shot. At the higher levels it’s usually the team with the most quality chances that wins, not necessarily the most shots.
Quality Shots are more important than the Number of Shots!
That was my analysis of Kila_Kali. If you have anything to add to help them out, let them know in the comments below.