A lot of scoring opportunities are a result of winning small battles in the neutral zone. This hockey drill focuses on offensive and defensive zone neutral zone situations. To set up the drill you should place four cones or tires as shown in the diagram. All of the players will be in the center ice circle. Five players are involved in the drill at one time and the starting position for each player is shown. The blue players are defensive players while the green markers note the offensive players. The coaches will be located near the offensive face off dots with pucks. At the start of each repetition the coach on one end will place a puck in the middle of the ice at about the top of the circles.
On the whistle, the Defense skate backwards, pivot, and skate forwards to retrieve the puck on their forehand. This is important and teaches the players to be ready to move the puck up the ice quickly. P1 sprints down aroudn the cone and opens up to provide and outlet for the defense. The defensive forward (X) has to sprint down around the cone and apply pressure to P1 as they will be receiving the pass from the defense. P2 has to skate around the cone where X started and times their swing through the neutral zone so that they provide support for P1. P1 can pass to P2 directly or chip the puck off the boards. P2 then carries the puck with speed into the zone and around the cone that is deep int he zone. After making a play to P2, P1 has to beat X to the net and hope to receive a pass back from P2 in the slot. P1 should be sprinting all the way to the net. The defensive forward (X) has to backcheck and try to stay in the defensive side of P1. This should be an intense competition between P1 and X.
Another play also begins on the first whistle. P3 starts at the same place as P1 but skates the other way and swings low to the opposite boards to receive a pass from the coach. Once they receive the pass they will take on the defensive player. The defensive player, after making a pass to P1, has to regain as much of their ice as possible and take on P3 in a 1 on 1 back to the other net. It is important for the defense to challenge themselves and regain so much ice that they end up playing the forward very tight in the neutral zone.