Hockey is played five on five. The first hockey obstacle is to utilise all five people on your team in the play. The second task is to use those same five individuals to outman their five members by logically migrating individuals to selected sections of the rink at the right instance.
When the puck is in the oppositions’s zone the common match up will be your 3 forwards, (the two wingers and the center) deep, playing against their two D and their center. Your two defencemen will be on the points, being contained by their hockey wingers. If every individual stays with their man, and isn’t out-matched, the the attackers won’t get many chances.
You will need to outwork or outskill the other team to have any scoring chances. An easy way to do this is out-man them at significant times of the play. Having the defensemen pinch is a way to do this, but if you don’t do it right its dangerous because it will give the defending team a chance to break out of their end and create an odd man rush.
Visualize that the puck is in the corner. Their D is there, scuffling with with your right winger for the puck. Their LW is between the hash marks and the blueline, watching your defender on the point and the struggle for the puck in the corner. If their D-man chips the puck up the boards to their winger, he can move up, make a pass to their centreman, or chip it off the boards past your D.
Your right D can put pressure on their winger by expecting their defenceman’s pass to their left winger, and pinch on him, keeping the puck in their end.
The danger is that their winger chips the puck past your right D-man, skates past him, and goes down with the center on a 2 on 1 against your remaining D.
The key to success is to make the pinch, but ensure that that the pinching D-man is covered. Its most desirable to utilize a system. The perfect system is where the right D pinches down to to top of the face off circle/hash marks, trying to keep the puck in. The left defenseman slides over to take the right defenceman’s place on the right point. Your wing comes back high hockey and covers the left D-man’s place in case the pinch doesn’t work.
If the pinch does work your LW is nearby to the high slot for a pass or rebound. The centerman will likely be in the deep slot, and the right wing can easily be in the corner. Depending on how the pinch operates and how talented your right defenseman is with the puck he will probably get a shot himself, or circle back toward the left defenseman’s spot.
Its unlikely that their right defender, who was covering your left winger, followed the LW back to the point, so if the pinch works your left winger is more than likely open. If the pinch doesn’t function he’s in position to contain their right wing, who was formerly covering your left defender. Your left D-man is on the right hand side now, so even if the pinch doesn’t perform you have a possibility for your left defender to keep the puck in at the blue line, or defend against a two on two with your LW taking the place of the missing defenceman.
Its important for the three attacking players to understand the system. One D-man pinches very aggressively, playing the man before the puck. Second D-man slides over to the first defender’s point. Opposite winger drops back.
Its feasible to use a forechecking process where the wingers go deep and the centreman stays high, in which case the centerman (being the high forward) covers for the D-man.
The advantages of doing this in rec hockey is that the other team likely won’t observe the approach right away, so won’t respond to it immediately. Rushing the other team will push them to make fast passes. Quick passes are generally not accurate, and end up in turn overs or icings. Some of those turn overs go right up the middle to…the opposite winger/high center covering for the defenceman.
Bear in mind, in rec hockey its straightforward things that tally up to many more victories. The more you’re in the other team’s end, the fewer scoring options they get. The more you rush them in their end, the worse their break outs, and the fewer scoring chances they get. Take 1 or two goals a game off your season goals against total and you turn a losing season into a winning season.