Using the Triangle to Open Up Space on the Attack

A few years ago, I did a quick video dissection of Joe Pavelski’s over time goal against the LA Kings. This video shows perfect execution of one of the Attack Triangle options we outline in the Coaches’ Training Course and in the Playbook. Here’s a quick summary of how it works on this play:

attack_triangleHow the Sharks used the Attack Triangle on this Play
1. F1 drives the puck wide, while reading the gap of the strong-side defenseman
2. F2 realizes he has an inside lane to the net, and drives straight through the middle, pulling the weak-side defenseman with him, and opening up space in the high slot
3. F3 (Joe Pavelski) reads that the weak-side defenseman has been driven low, and that there will be space in the high slot, so he fills that space
4. F1 reads loose gap from the strong-side defenseman, and sees that the weak-side defenseman has been driven deep, then feathers an “area pass” to the open ice in the high slot
5. F3 walks in, picks up the pass, and snipes the game winner!

Faceoffs: Offensive Zone

A few Offensive Zone Faceoff options that have worked well for me in the past

Here are a few of my favorite offensive zone faceoff options. Remember, it is up to the centerman to make sure everyone is ready, and on the same page before the puck is dropped. I recommend naming your faceoff plays so the communication is quick and simple before the draw.


Faceoffs: Neutral Zone

A few Neutral Zone Faceoff options that have worked well for me in the past

Neutral zone faceoffs are a good time to get a little more aggressive than maybe you otherwise would be. Here are a few “more aggressive” options I like to throw in every once in a while to catch the other team off guard.


Faceoffs: Defensive Zone

A few Defensive Zone Faceoff options that have worked well for me in the past

I like to have VERY structured positioning and responsibilities in my defensive zone play––including faceoffs!! This particular set-up will leave you in great position for a breakout if we win the draw, and great position for defensive zone coverage if we lose the draw. Either way we are covered!

This set-up also allows for a few “more aggressive” options that I like to use every now and then to catch the other team off guard.


Offensive Attack: Formations

Let players be creative within a structured offensive framework

I’ve mentioned a number of times that I like to give players set positions and responsibilities in the defensive zone. This helps keep players accountable when breakdowns occur (it’s easier to pinpoint the problem and say “why wasn’t the “sagman” in the low slot?” for example).

However, as the play progresses into the offensive zone, I like to encourage players to be creative within a structured framework. I like to attack using the “Attack Triangle,” which is based on solid front-side and back-side support. There are many different attack options that can be executed within this framework.

So… teach your players to attack using the triangle, and make sure they understand proper support tactics, then let them do their thing!!

CLICK HERE to check out our video on “Timing and Support Tactics”
CLICK HERE to check out our “Attack Triangle Sequence” drill.


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