Hockey Strategies For Playing With A Lead

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Written By Margaret Satchell

I love helping people get in shape by playing sports instead of just boring gym routines. Live life to the fullest.





In “Hockey Strategies For Playing With A Lead,” you will discover expert tips and techniques to maintain and maximize your advantage on the ice. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, this article provides valuable insights into the world of hockey. With a keen focus on fitness and enjoyment, you’ll learn how to stay in shape by engaging in this exhilarating sport. Enhance your skills, outmaneuver your opponents, and experience the thrill of victory as you delve into the strategies that can help you dominate the game.

Hockey Strategies For Playing With A Lead

Maintaining Possession

Controlling the Puck

Maintaining possession of the puck is crucial in hockey, especially when playing with a lead. To control the puck effectively, you must prioritize puck protection and stickhandling skills. Keep your body between the puck and your opponents, using your body to shield the puck from their reach. This will give you time and space to make smart plays and find open teammates. Additionally, work on your stickhandling skills to keep the puck close to your body and away from the opposing players.

Cycling in the Offensive Zone

When playing with a lead, one effective strategy is cycling the puck in the offensive zone. This involves moving the puck along the boards and utilizing the entire zone to maintain possession. By cycling, you tire out the opponent, create scoring opportunities, and limit their chances of a comeback. To execute this strategy, communicate with your teammates, make quick passes, and constantly move in order to create passing options and confuse the defenders.

Using the Boards

Using the boards can be an effective way to maintain possession and control the flow of the game. By banking the puck off the boards, you can create opportunities for yourself and your teammates. This strategy allows you to avoid turnovers and keep the puck away from the opposing team. When executing this technique, aim for the area behind the net or the corners, as these are difficult areas for defenders to reach and can lead to scoring chances.

Dumping and Chasing

Dumping and chasing is another strategy to maintain possession and prevent the opposing team from mounting a successful comeback. With this strategy, instead of trying to carry the puck into the offensive zone, you shoot the puck deep into the opponent’s end and then aggressively forecheck to regain possession. Dumping and chasing forces the opponent to retreat and spend valuable time defending, allowing your team to maintain control of the game and control the pace. It requires quick and coordinated teamwork to effectively execute this strategy.

Defensive Structure

Protecting the Slot

To protect a lead, it is crucial to focus on defending the slot area in front of the net. This is where opposing players often position themselves to score goals. By maintaining a strong presence in the slot, you make it difficult for your opponents to get high-quality scoring chances. Focus on maintaining good body positioning, actively using your stick, and being aware of the opposing players in and around the slot. Communication with your teammates is vital to ensure proper slot coverage and prevent the opposing team from making dangerous plays.

Clearing the Defensive Zone

Clearing the defensive zone effectively is key to maintaining possession and preventing the opposing team from mounting a comeback. Use strong passing skills and communication to move the puck out of your zone and into the neutral zone. Avoid making risky plays in your defensive zone that could lead to turnovers. Instead, prioritize making simple and accurate passes to create controlled breakouts and maintain control of the game.


Forechecking is an essential defensive strategy that involves putting pressure on the opposing team in their own zone. By aggressively pursuing the puck carrier and disrupting their breakout attempts, you can regain possession and limit their scoring opportunities. When forechecking, communication with your linemates is crucial to ensure proper coverage and pressure. Use a combination of speed, positioning, and stickwork to effectively forecheck and maintain control of the game.

Neutral Zone Trap

The neutral zone trap is a defensive strategy employed to disrupt the opposing team’s offensive flow and prevent them from gaining entry into your zone. It involves positioning players strategically along the blue line and forcing the opposing team to either dump the puck or make risky passes. By clogging up the neutral zone, you can limit their speed and scoring opportunities. Effective execution of the neutral zone trap requires discipline, communication, and coordinated teamwork.

Limiting Turnovers

Smart Passing

An essential aspect of maintaining possession and managing a lead is smart passing. Instead of making risky, high-risk passes that could result in turnovers, focus on making simple and accurate passes. Use your awareness of the ice to identify open teammates and find passing lanes. Quick and efficient passing will keep the opposing team on their toes and prevent them from gaining momentum.

Avoiding Risky Plays

When playing with a lead, it is important to avoid risky plays that could lead to turnovers and allow the opposing team to gain momentum. Instead, prioritize making safe plays, such as chipping the puck out of your defensive zone or making conservative passes to open teammates. Take calculated risks when the opportunity arises but be mindful of the game situation and the importance of maintaining possession.

Supporting Teammates

Supporting your teammates is crucial to limit turnovers and maintain possession. Always be available for a pass and provide outlets for your teammates when they are under pressure. By offering support, you create options for your team and reduce the risk of turnovers. Additionally, communicate with your teammates, indicating your position and readiness for a pass. This will help maintain possession and control of the game.

Managing Time

Slowing Down the Game

When playing with a lead, strategically slowing down the game can be an effective way to manage the clock and prevent the opposing team from mounting a comeback. Take your time with each play, making deliberate decisions and maintaining possession. This will frustrate the opposing team and limit their opportunities to score. Slow down the pace of the game by controlling the puck, cycling in the offensive zone, and making smart, controlled passes.

Taking Advantage of Offensive Opportunities

While it is important to manage the clock, you should also seize offensive opportunities to extend your lead when they arise. When given a scoring chance, be aggressive and make the most of it. Instead of solely focusing on defensive play, maintain a balanced approach that combines offensive pressure with strong defensive strategies. By capitalizing on offensive opportunities, you can maintain control of the game and put the opposing team on their heels.

Letting the Clock Tick

In hockey, time is of the essence, especially when protecting a lead. As the clock ticks down, your goal should be to limit the opposing team’s time of possession and prevent them from generating scoring opportunities. Maintain disciplined defensive play, limit turnovers, and focus on controlling the puck. By effectively managing the clock, you increase the likelihood of securing the win and maintaining control of the game.

Effective Line Changes

Short Shifts

To maintain intensity and energy throughout the game, implementing short shifts is crucial. By keeping shifts short, you ensure that players stay fresh and can maintain a high level of performance. Short shifts also allow players to maintain focus and prevent mental fatigue, which can lead to costly mistakes. Aim to have shifts that last around 30-45 seconds to effectively manage energy levels and maintain control of the game.

Communicating with Teammates

Communication is vital when making effective line changes. Before coming off the ice, signal to your teammates that you are ready for a change. Communicate with your linemates to ensure smooth transitions and avoid confusion. By effectively communicating and coordinating line changes, you can maintain a consistent level of play and avoid unnecessary turnovers or defensive breakdowns during the transition.

Timing the Changes

Timing is crucial when making line changes. Coordinate line changes strategically to maintain control of the game and prevent the opposing team from gaining an advantage. Time changes during stoppages in play or when the puck is in the opposing team’s zone to limit the likelihood of a counterattack. Effective timing of line changes ensures fresh legs on the ice and maintains a strong defensive structure.

Playing Physical

Strong Body Positioning

Playing physical is not just about delivering big hits; it involves maintaining solid body positioning to win battles for the puck. By using your body effectively, you can create space and maintain control of the game. Keep a low center of gravity, use your body to shield the puck, and engage in board battles to maintain possession. Strong body positioning also helps to deter opponents and establish dominance on the ice.

Winning Battles in the Corners

Winning battles in the corners is crucial to maintaining possession and preventing the opposing team from mounting a comeback. When the puck is in the corners, use your body to protect the puck and outmuscle opponents. Use your stick to poke the puck away from opponents and create passing opportunities. Winning battles in the corners allows you to maintain control of the game and control the flow of play.

Finishing Checks

Finishing checks is a physical aspect of the game that can impact the mental and physical state of your opponents. By delivering clean, hard checks, you can intimidate the opposing team and establish a physical presence. Finishing checks can disrupt the opposing team’s rhythm and force turnovers. However, it is essential to play within the rules and avoid unnecessary penalties. Choose your opportunities wisely and use finishing checks strategically to maintain control of the game.

Goaltending Strategy

Positioning in the Crease

Positioning is crucial for goaltenders, especially when protecting a lead. In the crease, aim to be square to the shooter and establish good depth. This allows you to cut down angles and make saves more effectively. Maintain focus on the puck and adjust your positioning accordingly to consistently make saves and prevent goals. Effective positioning in the crease gives your team confidence and helps maintain control of the game.

Controlling Rebounds

Controlling rebounds is essential for goaltenders to limit second-chance opportunities for the opposing team. Focus on directing rebounds to safe areas or smothering the puck to prevent opponents from capitalizing on loose pucks. By controlling rebounds effectively, you limit the opposing team’s scoring chances and maintain control of the game. Communication with your defensemen is also crucial in ensuring proper rebound control.

Communication with Defensemen

Effective communication with defensemen is vital for goaltenders when protecting a lead. Communicate your intentions and provide feedback to your defensemen to ensure cohesive defensive play. Notify your defensemen of screens or potential threats, allowing them to position themselves accordingly. Strong communication between the goaltender and defensemen helps maintain defensive structure and prevents breakdowns that can lead to goals.

Special Teams

Power Play Tactics

When playing with a lead, capitalizing on power play opportunities can be a game-changer. Utilize effective power play tactics to maintain possession and create scoring opportunities. Move the puck quickly, utilizing crisp passing and effective puck movement to confuse the penalty killers. Maintain good positioning in order to open passing lanes and create shooting opportunities. By executing power play tactics effectively, you can extend your lead and maintain control of the game.

Penalty Killing Strategies

Penalty killing is crucial when protecting a lead, as preventing the opposing team from scoring on the power play is vital. Effective penalty killing strategies involve pressure on the puck carrier, blocking shooting lanes, and disrupting passing plays. Stay disciplined and focused, react quickly to the opponent’s movements, and maintain good positioning to limit scoring chances. Utilize communication and teamwork to coordinate effective penalty killing and maintain control of the game.

Maintaining Discipline

Maintaining discipline is crucial when playing with a lead, especially on special teams. Avoid unnecessary penalties and stay focused on executing your game plan. Emphasize strong defensive positioning, proper stickwork, and disciplined play to limit scoring chances. By maintaining discipline, you prevent the opposing team from gaining momentum and maintain control of the game.

Adapting to Opponent’s Adjustments

Recognizing Changes in Tempo

Recognizing changes in tempo is essential to adapt and maintain control of the game. Stay aware of your opponent’s tactics and adjust your play accordingly. If the opposing team increases the tempo and applies more pressure, focus on maintaining possession and making smart decisions with the puck. If they slow down the game, adjust your defensive structure to limit their time and space. By recognizing changes in tempo, you can effectively adapt and maintain control of the game.

Adjusting Defensive Structure

Opponents may make adjustments to their offensive strategies in an attempt to mount a comeback. As a result, it is important to adjust your defensive structure accordingly. This may involve tightening gaps, applying more pressure, or using more conservative tactics. Stay aware of your defensive responsibilities and communicate with your teammates to ensure everyone is on the same page. Effective adjustment of the defensive structure will make it difficult for the opposing team to generate scoring opportunities.

Modifying Offensive Approach

If the opposing team adjusts their defensive strategy to limit your offensive opportunities, it is important to modify your offensive approach. This may involve changing the point of attack, cycling the puck more efficiently, or being more patient with your offensive plays. Utilize communication and teamwork to identify weaknesses in the opposing team’s defensive structure and exploit them. By adapting your offensive approach, you can maintain control of the game and continue to generate scoring chances.

Mental Game

Staying Focused

Maintaining focus is crucial when playing with a lead. It is easy to become complacent or lose concentration, allowing the opposing team to mount a comeback. Stay mentally engaged in the game and focus on executing your game plan. Remind yourself of the importance of each shift and each play. By staying focused, you can make smart decisions, limit turnovers, and maintain control of the game.

Avoiding Overconfidence

Although you have a lead, it is important to avoid overconfidence. Overconfidence can lead to sloppy play, mistakes, and ultimately allow the opposing team to gain momentum. Stay humble and focused, understanding that the game is not over until the final buzzer sounds. Avoid taking unnecessary risks or making careless plays. By maintaining a balance between confidence and humility, you can effectively defend your lead and maintain control of the game.

Playing Smart

Playing smart involves making calculated decisions and prioritizing team success over individual achievements. When playing with a lead, avoid unnecessary risks and focus on making efficient plays. Understand the game situation and adjust your play accordingly. Maintain good positioning, communicate with your teammates, and make smart decisions with the puck. By playing smart, you can effectively manage the game and maintain control of the play.

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