Penalty Kill: Expanded Wedge +1

The Expanded Wedge +1 is strategically very similar to the “Sagging” Zone Arrow d-zone coverage

The Expanded Wedge +1 is even more aggressive than the Wedge +1, and is very similar to the “Sagging” Zone Arrow defensive zone coverage set-up.

You need fast players that anticipate well to use this one, but if executed properly, it can be extremely effective. Remember, if the opposing team brings a second man to the front of the net, you either have to switch to a different PK system, or concede one of the passing lanes.


Breakouts: Transition from DZC to Breakout

Transition from Box +1 to Breakout

Transition from Sagging Zone, and Sagging Zone Arrow, to Breakout

Well-designed systems should lead from one objective to the next. For example, your defensive zone coverage set-up should put you in proper position to gain the puck back and initiate a breakout. Your breakout should set you up to enter the neutral zone with proper support, and in a strong offensive attack position. The three DZC systems discussed in this post are very effective because they transition well into breakouts after you get the puck back.

CLICK HERE to watch our video on “Initiating a Hockey Breakout”


D-Zone Coverage: “Sagging” Zone Arrow

“Sagging” Zone Arrow is a slightly more aggressive version of the “Sagging” Zone

Use the “Sagging” Zone Arrow to put even more pressure on the opposing team. The set up is very similar to the regular “Sagging” Zone, except that the players on the “arrows” (where the likely passing lanes are) slide out to cut down the puck carrier’s passing options.

This set-up will cause more turnovers, but leaves the front of the net more vulnerable. So the players in front must be even more aware of players sneaking in the backdoor.


D-Zone Coverage: Box +1

Box +1 is an excellent introductory defensive zone coverage set-up

I have used the Box +1 as an introductory defensive zone coverage set-up for a number of teams ranging from talented youngsters to beginner adults.

The Box +1 is a great way to introduce structured defensive zone positioning, without a lot of risk. It is a passive system, which means it’s very forgiving if a player makes a mistake (since you always have 4 players in front of the net!).

The Box +1 also lends itself to progress into more complex coverages such as “Sagging” Zone Coverage, and the “Sagging” Zone Arrow. Furthermore, the transition from d-zone coverage to breakout is simple and straight-forward with this style of coverage.