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2-1-2 Forecheck (Pinch on a Wide Rim)
By Gianni Raimondo

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The 2-1-2 (Pinch on a Wide Rim) is a very aggressive forechecking system. It is often used late in a game when you are in need of a goal or at specific instances that will allow you to take advantage of your opponents positioning and/or weaknesses. Basically, what you are trying to do is to take away your opponents time and space, and forcing them to make decisions quicker than they can manage. To be successful on a 2 man forecheck, a team needs to have very good skaters and apply non stop maximum physical and mental pressure.

This forecheck system can be one of the more difficult ones to learn and implement because it emphasizes the interchanging of positions. All players need to know the roles and positioning of their teammates, and be capable of reading and reacting to how the play is unfolding, and make adjustments when necessary.

Tasks of Initial Penetration:
1) The first forechecker (F1) must create immediate pressure on the puck and FINISH his check, either in the corner, along the boards, or in open ice (if puck carrier is skating towards you) by steering the puck carrier wide (inside-out). F1 must always finish the check and make contact.

2) The second forechecker (F2) needs to read and react to how the play is unfolding, and must remember to be very aggressive and persistent. If F1 has made contact in the corner with the puck carrier, then F2 needs to get to the loose puck. If F1 is angling the puck carrier towards the boards, F2 must skate to where the puck is most likely to go (either puck carrier will chip it off the boards, or look for a D to D pass, or reverse. F2 needs to be aware of what support options the puck carrier has.

3) The third forechecker (F3) needs to offer support on the Strong Puck Side near the top of the circle, ready to attack any pass or rim to the strong hash marks. F3 also has the responsibility for covering D1 at the blue line if he has pinched in on the play or has slid over to cover for D2.

4) The fourth man (D1) needs to rush up ice as quickly as possible and support wide from the strong side point at the blue line (puck side). Play wide at blue line (close to the boards). Be ready to pinch if opportunity arises.

5) The fifth man (D2) needs to rush up ice as quickly as possible and support from the weak side blue line and look to pinch if the puck has changed corner on a rim.

Tasks of Different Situations:
A) If puck is passed from D to D (from initial position, right corner to left corner)
• F2 - needs to pressure puck carrier (angle and finish)
• F1 – after he has finished check, needs to support F2, moving to the front of the net (read and react to how play is unfolding, attack lose puck if you can)
• F3 – moves across high slot to support strong side D
• D2 - slide across to protect wall at the blue line, be ready to pinch
• D1- move across to support partner (you are now weak side), be ready to pinch

B) If puck is moved to hash marks (from initial position, right corner to right hassmarks)
• D1 – slide to boards at blue line
• D2 – slide over to middle of the ice at blue line
• F3 – move to puck carrier, angle and finish
• F2 – move to high slot, becoming new High Man
• F1 – look for the loose puck after finishing

C) If puck is rimmed along boards (from initial position, right corner, to left side along boards)
• D2 – needs to read and react by pinching
• D1 – moves across to fill for D2
• F3 – moves across to fill for D1
• F2 – supports D2, looking for loose pucks
• F1 – finishes check, then fills in for F3 in high slot

It is important to note that some teams alter this system slightly based on the make up of their players. For example you can have your high forward always replace the pinching D, or have D1 and D2 always replace each other.

Also, it is important to note that the game of hockey is a game of speed, transition, and quick puck movement. The above is a guideline on playing a 2-1-2 system, but many times you will need to read and react to how the play is unfolding around you, and adjust accordingly. Some key points to remember is that you always want 2 forwards that apply constant pressure on the puck, 1 forward high in the slot area ready to pinch in if puck is turned over, or backcheck if opposition break out is successful, and 2 defenseman that are aggressive at the blue line, ready to pinch in along the boards.

If the opposition is forced to makes decisions while they are under heavy pressure, you’re on your way to turning over the puck and getting a scoring opportunity. Constant work, quick feet, and anticipation are essential.

Gianni Raimondo is a guest columnist who submitted this article as a HockeyPlayer.com reader. He is a coach in Montreal, Quebec (Deux Rives Organization, Midget Level), site administrator, and head writer for http://www.behindthebench.t83.net/



This first appeared in the July /2007 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
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Posted: Jul 6, 2007, 17:36
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