clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Playing the System: Beating the Ducks Forecheck

New, comments

The Anaheim Ducks are knocking teams around this year, but it is possible to take advantage of their aggressive nature.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks are currently 3rd in the league in hits. But unlike most other teams at the top of the hit chart, the Ducks are actually a strong puck possession team. The high hit count and good possession are both direct results of a unique wrinkle they have added to their dump and chase forecheck.

Most teams utilize a 2-1-2 forecheck. The first "2" are the first into the zone with one person pressuring the puck and the other supporting nearby. The "1" is the third man into the zone and generally hangs out in the mid slot area to support the play as needed and prevent any odd man rushes going the other way. The final "2" are the defenseman. The Ducks use this same 2-1-2 forecheck on dump-ins, but instead of the second man supporting the puck, he pressures as well, meaning they almost always get a hit on the puck carrier. If the puck is moved, their "1" then moves to pressure as well. This causes havoc for defenders, but also leaves Anaheim vulnerable to odd-man rushes.

The way to counter this forecheck is with extra support of the defenseman from the forwards.  This allows your defenseman to make shorter and easier passes, quickly turning the play in the other direction. The defenseman retrieving the puck is going to have to take a hit to make a play a lot of the time. With two short passes though, it is possible to take advantage of the hyper-aggressive Duck's forecheck.