This focus of this drill is for defense to work on their communication skills in the breakout. This drill was designed with a half-ice practice in mind. It is a situational drill that will force the defense to use communication in order to make the right pass in order to break out. The weak side defensive player will have to read where the second forechecker is, then make the call to the player who is under pressure from the first forechecker. To set up, the coach should have all the pucks in the middle of the ice at about the hash marks. The breakout defensive players should be on each side of the coach with their heels pointing to the net. The two breakout forwards should be placed at the top of the face-off circles and start on their knees. The two forechecking forwards are in a single file line just outside the top of the circles (see diagram).
To start the drill the coach will dump a puck down past the goal line to either side of the net. The strong side defense will transition forwards to go retrieve the puck. The first forechecking forward will always pressure the puck. The second forechecking forward has a choice. They can cheat to the strong side wing along the boards, or they can anticipate a D to D pass and pressure the other defense. The weak side defensive player has to read where the second forechecking player is going and make the call accordingly. If the second forechecker goes to the strong side wing on the boards, the correct call would be OVER, and the defensive player that retrieves the puck then makes a pass to their defensive partner. If the second forechecker goes towards the weak side defense, then the correct call would be UP. Then the defense would retrieve the puck and make a quick pass to the strong side winger on the boards. The winger who receives the breakout pass controls the puck and then makes a pass to the other breakout forward who is skating through the high slot.