In this skill breakdown, we dive into concepts that players should keep in mind when they are 1 v 1 and going for a 50/50 puck along the boards. 50/50 simply means that it is an even race to get to the puck. This skill is becoming more and more important as teams are utilizing "soft dumps" in the offensive zone to keep possession of the puck.
- Leverage - take time to stabilize your body so you can leverage your edges to brace for impact.
- Timing - this is extremely important. If you rush ahead to get the puck, you can be pinned against the boards. If you are too slow, the other team can beat you to the puck.
- Strength - once you have arrived at the same time as the other player, you can now use your strength and leverage to separate the player from the puck to create time and space.
Note: If you are well in front of a player and it is not a 50/50 battle to get the puck along the boards, you should check out our "Puck Retrieval Tips" video.
Lets Break it Down!
Two players go for a puck on the end wall; rather than the Maple Leaf player (Petan) arriving first and taking punishment, he goes in shoulder to shoulder with the Dman prepared for body positioning battle.
- Petan stabilizes his body before preparing to use his edges to get underneath the Dman.
- A larger player may invite a big shoulder to shoulder hit and utilize his strength/size.
Petan gets low and braces himself for contact so he can absorb it while shielding the puck.
- A major point is that he ‘got underneath’ the Dman quickly & at the correct time.
- If he went too early the Dman would then be able to react and pin him against the boards.
Petan is able to use the contact from the Dman to keep his momentum while shielding the puck.
- This momentum allows Petan gain offensive position on the Dman (meaning the forward is closer to the goalie than his defender).
Due to a bad read & the loss of position from his teammate, a second Sabres player comes to challenge the puck carrier. The better read is to hold net front (as the puck must arrive here eventually for a scoring chance).
A second leaf player comes late and gets the puck net front where he gets the goalie moving laterally for a great goal that started with a 50/50 puck along the wall.
A 50/50 puck along the wall and Eichel begins a heavy lean on the Leaf’s Dman to slow both of them down & to establish position once they arrive to the puck.
- As you can see, Eichel is trying to establish his outside shoulder (Right) in front of the defender’s inside should (Left).
Eichel is able to use his edges and strength to the shove the Leaf’s defender as he picks up the loose puck.
The timing of this push is key as it now creates separation (time and space) to make his play.
As Eichel climbs the wall, another Maple Leaf forward tries to angle him.
Eichel feels the pressure, pushes his puck and escapes on his right outside edge to buy himself more time.
Eichel gains the back of the net (bad for the opponent) and draws 3 Leaf forwards to him below the goal line.
Olafsson finds a soft spot in the slot and presents his stick for a passing option.
Olofsson catches and releases his puck in two touches. His wrist shot beats a moving goalie short side shelf.
Here is a fun battle drill where two players battle for a loose rebound and work to get the puck to the point player. Once they get the puck to the point, it begins a 2 on 1.
Here is a similar battle drill to the one shown above, except each player has their own point to pass to. The two players battle for a loose rebound and work to get the puck to their teammate. Once they get the puck to the point, it begins a 2 on 1.
You can also modify this drill by dumping the puck into the corner so the players arrive in the corner at the same time and can practice the skill described above.