<-- Position Alignments In A 3-3 Scoring a Goal -->
In the 2nd panel, the pass is made, but before the puck gets to the back it is intercepted by the player from the other team. At the point of the interception, since the pass was lateral, all three players are in a line. The opponent who intercepted the pass is moving in one direction, and the other two players are either not moving or moving in the opposite direction.
In the 3rd panel, the other two players try to react to the interception. However, since they were swimming the other way, by the time they turn around and start chasing, the play is pretty much over.
In the 2nd panel, the pass is made, but before the puck gets to the back it is intercepted by the player from the other team. At the point of the interception, since the pass was a 45 degree back pass, the back is still between the opponent and the goal. The opponent who intercepted the pass is moving in one direction, and the other two players are either not moving or moving in the opposite direction.
In the 3rd panel, the back that was originally down to take the pass instead deals with the turnover and defends the opponent who now has the puck. The turnover has been contained, and no scoring opportunity for the other team develops.
In the bottom left diagram, the right (weakside) forward’s job is to contain the puck on the left side of the play, making sure it does not swing in front of the goal.
The forwards should try to maintain enough distance from the backs that they are in a good position to receive a pass. When a forward receives a pass or steals the puck in the defensive third of the pool, their first thought should be to go to a side wall of the pool. They should almost never bring the puck to the middle of the pool. If they encounter resistance going to the wall, surrender pool but maintain possession. Conservative, safe play which maintains possession in front of your goal is preferred to gaining some pool going towards the enemies goal but losing the puck.
At least two of the three backs will be on the bottom defending the goal. The third back will be waiting to drop if the puck gets by one of the other backs or if the direction of the goal attack changes (e.g. if the attack starts on the left, but then the puck swings around to the right side).
If the weak side forward fails at containing the puck from being brought to center pool, then all three backs should be down trying to force the puck to go to one wall or the other.
Once one of the backs regains possession they should then drive to the corner or the side wall, where their forwards should take the puck back up the pool.
The Center Forward's job is to muscle and bash the puck into the goal. No Excuses, no puck handling, no fancy swimming is needed. Just get your stick on the puck and use some strength when it's in close.
Good positioning on the opening strike is vital. The Strike is one of the most dynamic moments in a game – neither team has the puck, neither team has the advantage. Both teams are starting from scratch. Winning the strike is not as important as being ready for the other team to have the puck. Many teams win the strike and then lose the puck.
The team starts out by lining up on the wall by their goal (as illustrated on the left)
Notice that the center forward is lined up almost directly over the puck. The center forward should have a straight line to the puck (the shortest distance from the wall to the puck). The Left and Right forwards should also be as close as possible to the middle. Some teams have all three forwards next to each other, with the three backs on the outside.
Now, the tone is sounded, and play is started.
This shows the position the team should be in before possession is obtained. Notice that five players are on the bottom – all three forwards and the two outside backs. This is done both to give the center forward the maximum options with the puck and to make sure the other team has minimal options if it should win the puck.
Now, the Center Forward gets the puck, and starts to go to their left.
As the Center Forward breaks to the left, the right forward surfaces as they are too far away from the play to get the puck. The Left Forward attempts to get wide and possibly ahead of the Center Forward (based off what the defense is doing) and get in good position for a pass. As the puck goes further to the left, the left back will follow the puck on the bottom to make sure the Center Forward does not quickly lose possession, and has an option for a back pass if they need it. The Right Back drops back into a support position and gets some air.
An equal puck lines up much like the initial strike for the forwards. The Center Forward should be directly over the puck, with the left and right forwards slightly offset behind. The back will play their usual positioning. The center forward should duck dive down to the puck.
Notice that the backs are not lined up in a true seven formation. This is done to compensate for the fact that the strong side back is going to charge forward. If the backs were in a true seven formation from the beginning of the play, the strong side back would swim away from his other two backs, causing a gap to appear in the play. With the center and weak side closer to the puck, as the strong side back swims forward the formation will naturally align into a seven.
This closeness by the backs helps if the center forward does not establish possession of the puck. Now, both the center and strong side back will be right on the play, ready to shut down the opponent offense.
For any infringements a referee may award an advantage puck to the team the infringement was committed against. Advantage Pucks are great scoring opportunities, as they allow a team to position their players exactly how they would like them to be, and allows the team with the advantage to run set plays at the opposing defense.
On an advantage, the forwards should be lined up behind the opposition players. The Back who takes the puck should charge forward and pass only once they encounter resistance. The Back should pass the puck over the defending opposition players and to one of his own players.
Notice that the backs are not lined up in a true seven formation. This is done to compensate for the fact that the strong side back with the puck is going to charge forward. If the backs were in a true seven formation from the beginning of the play, the strong side back would swim away from his other two backs, causing a gap to appear in the play. With the center and weak side closer to the puck, as the strong side back swims forward the formation will naturally align into a seven.
Notice how once the strong side back swims forward, the formation aligns itself.
This closeness by the backs helps if the strong side back’s first pass is intercepted by the opposition team. Now, both the center and strong side back will be right on the play, ready to shut down the opponent’s offense.
Should any infringement occur within the 3 meter goal area that prevents an almost certain goal, a penalty shot is awarded.
A penalty shot is a two on one situation. The team with the penalty shot picks two players to take the shot – usually your best two players, and usually a back and a forward.
The team on the defensive usually picks their best defensive player and lines them up to defend the goal attempt.
The referee will indicate start of play and the penalty shot will continue until either the goal is scored or the defender can move the puck beyond the 3 meter goal area, signifying the goal was successfully defended.
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