Sticks In Lanes Game diagram

The Sticks In Lanes Game from Topher Scott of The Hockey Think Tank is a great small area game to help the offense practice passing in the offensive zone while the defense works to block passing lanes by keeping their sticks on the ice. This is also a great drill for practicing your Power Play & Penalty Kill. This game is a 6 vs. 2 but can be set up to be more challenging for the offense by making it 4 vs. 2, or 6 vs. 3.


  • KEEP SCORE (as you can see from the video, this can become a very fun and competitive drill).
  • The playing area is highlighted in yellow in the diagram above.
  • Have 6 offensive players set up as shown in the diagram. They can move slightly but can not skate around and must stay in their designated area.
  • 2 Defenders will defend the middle of the ice.
  • On the whistle, the offensive team is trying to score. They must pass the puck through the middle of the ice 2 or more times before they can shoot.
  • The defenders work to break up the play.
  • Switch teams after each rep and let forwards play defense and defense play offense. 

Coaching Points

Offensive Team:

  • Use deception (look or fake passing one way and pass the other way) to create openings.
  • Think about where you pass before the puck comes to you.
  • Shoot quickly if you have an opening!

Defensive Team:

  • Keep sticks on the ice at all times! This will allow you to block passing lanes or intercept passes.
  • Use quick starts and stops to cover ground.


  • Can make this drill harder for the offense by making it a 4 vs. 2 (view example) or a 6 vs. 3 (view example).
  • Can make the playing space larger or smaller (the smaller it is, the harder it is).
  • Can require 3 (or more) passes through the royal road before a shot is allowed.
  • Use different point-scoring to make sure the game is exciting and competitive for the team. For example (2 points for a goal, 1 point for 2 consecutive defensive takeaways).

Progression: 6 VS. 3

6 On 3 Valley Game

This diagram shows what a 6 vs. 3 progression of the Sticks In Lanes Game could look like. Adding the 3rd defender makes it harder for the offensive team. In this version, the forwards were able to spread out more and the defenders were limited to only being able to skate within the royal road (the blue area in the middle of the ice).

View a video example of a 6 vs. 3 version of this drill from Coach Steve Wiedler

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