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11-23-2010, 11:27 AM
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They beat you 5-4, so either they do have scoring or you don't have team defense/goaltending. Be honest with every assessment if you want to find an appropriate solution.

Run and gun might work against the weaker teams, but if it's not working against them, be honest with yourselves whether you're willing to do things a little differently. Three suggestions:

1) Slow down the pace. Play puck possession (if you can), and don't try to beat them outright with speed... do it with puck movement. For all the speed of the game, hockey requires patience. You need possession, then need to move it down the rink, then need to coordinate for a decent shot on net. If you fail, they get the puck and you have to go get it back and then do it all over again. Be willing to wait until the last five minutes of the game to win it 1-0 if you have to. So relax, and move the puck as much side to side as up and down. Make them chase and tire. You can't win until the 3rd anyway, so use 2-1/2 periods to exhaust them.

2) If their goalie's that good, get traffic in front of him and score ugly. Also put your dump ins on the net, not in the corners. Make the goalie play the puck. Let him deal with the bounces. Force him to play it to his defensemen. You're making his concentration shift gears, from positioning and stopping the puck to doing other things he doesn't do as often. Do the opposite of trashing talking... sweet talk him. Compliment him. Tell him he's awesome... nice save buddy... wish we had you on our team... on and on. Trash talking doesn't work, it'll just focus his concentration. Sweet talking strokes his ego... gets him smiling inside.... interrupts the task at hand which is about concentration. Also the sweet talking will get their defense all riled up.

3) Have the defense pinch 100% of the time. Whenever they're breaking out of their zone, whichever of your defenseman is closest, have him pinch inside the blueline every time. EVERYTIME. The other D drops back outside the blueline and middle of the rink. At least one of your forwards has to come back and hunt down the puck carrier. The forwards have to be agreeable to this and act in unison with the defense... it'll be easier because they already know what the defense are going to do. They know they're going to pinch, so closet forward to the blueline starts back checking immediately. The forward's job (even if they don't catch him) is to force the puck carrier's decision. The lone defender simply has to direct the attack to the left side or right side. There will never be a breakaway where the opponent has time to deke or shoot... he'll only have time to shoot, forced off to one side. Unless it's a 2-on-1, your goalie knows there's no deke, and can play further out. That all said, you'll be surprised how often that pinching defenseman is successful, and keeps the play in their end.

Good luck, cream those punks from Syracuse.

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