The Strategic Dump & Recovery Play – A Pressure Offensive Tactic

It’s important to differentiate between a dump and chase play where there is no evidence of strategy or tactics being deployed and a strategic dump-in recovery play. A strategic dump-in recovery play tactic properly designed and executed is an offensive pressure tactic that should be part of every good offensive team’s game plan. 

In the video below there are three short clips that provide examples of strategic dump and recovery plays that are well executed. In all three cases the puck dumped into the offensive zone (hard rim or soft dump) is recovered and taken to the net.

In today’s game the neutral zone is generally well defended to prevent the opponent from entering and exiting the zone with speed and puck control. Teams deploy NZ forechecking tactics that pressure the puck for strategic reasons, such as but not limited to:

  1. Creating puck turnovers to regain puck possession and control
  2. Creating offensive scoring chances off the counter attack
  3. Taking away the opponent’s ability to carry the puck through the zone and get scoring chances off the attack
  4. Taking away the opponent’s ability to carry the puck deep into the offensive zone to set up and advance the puck on net

The Strategic Dump & Recovery Play 

To counter a pressure defensive NZ forecheck it’s important to teach a method of dumping the puck into the offensive zone that provides the ability to recover the puck and advance the puck on net. Whether you deploy a soft dump-in or a hard rim there must be group puck support to ensure recovery of the puck and the ability to advance the puck in the zone off the recovery tactic.

Execution Keys:

  1. 1st player enters the offensive zone with speed on the puck. 
  2. 1st player separates the opponent from the puck.
  3. 2nd & 3rd player enter the zone with speed to contain the puck battle area.
  4. Every player knows their role and how to execute their role in the puck battle recovery play. 
  5. Triangulate off the recovery in tight space to advance the puck as a group.
  6. Use of short touch passes and indirect passes or chips to open ice off the recovery.
  7. Every player involved in the puck recovery play should be in a strong hockey position.

A strategic dump-in recovery play is a pressure offensive tactic that must be defended with pressure. If the defending team doesn’t number up or outnumber in the puck recovery battle to recover the puck and exit their zone, watch the video below to see what may happen. The teaching of young players on how to win puck battles in all three zones must be part of the development process.

Mike has over 25 years of coaching experience as a Technical Mentor Coach of people in Business and Sports. Now retired after 35 years of public service, Mike created the TLPF website to support the development of competitive minor hockey players. Mike works with competitive hockey players to help them learn how to play faster which requires tactical knowledge and skills.