It is often said that defense wins championships. However, many coaches do not know the defensive plays that are needed to win games. Even if the coach is playing just for fun, the breakout is a strategy that is used in all levels of hockey, from very young all the way up to professional leagues. This is a strategy that every player has to know if they want to move to the next level of hockey.
Defensive Strategy: The breakout
The breakout is the standard defensive play to get the puck out of the defending zone and start a break down the ice. It starts out with the defense man in the corner battling the other team for the puck. The other defense man needs to be in front of the net making sure that if the other team gets the puck in the corner they cannot pass the puck in front of the net and score a goal.
If the defender in the corner wins the battle for the puck, then he needs to make a choice. He either has to wrap the puck around the boards for the other defense man and go to the front of the net, or he has to pass to the winger. This choice needs to be made by how many people from the other team are on each side, and what the chance of success will be.
The breakout starts when either defense man pass the puck to a winger. The team then begins to skate out of the defending zone. The winger with the puck needs to make a pass to the center. The center is the one who will either pass to the winger on the other side or take the puck down the ice to try to score.
Here is an example to make this easier to understand
If the puck is on the right side of the net in the defending zone the RD needs to go into the corner and battle for the puck. The LD needs to go in front of the net and battle the other team for position. This has to happen so that if the other team wins the battle for the puck in the corner then they cannot pass to the front of the net and score a goal.
While the defense is battling for the puck the offense needs to be getting ready to take the puck down the ice. They must be in a straight line across the entire defending zone. The R W needs to be at the hash mark along the boards waiting for a pass from the defense man, the C needs to be in front of the net helping the L D stop the pass from the corner. The L W needs to be on the left side of the net at the hash marks along the boards. He is waiting for a pass that may be wrapped around the boards.
When a winger gets the puck, the breakout begins. The winger will pass to the center who needs to be skating out of the zone. This center then decides who to pass to and how to get the puck to the other side of the ice.