Becanic: The Important Details of Defending a 5on6 Assault

John Becanic

John Becanic is the founder of Pyramid Hockey and serves as an IQ consultant to individuals, teams and organizations all over the world. A veteran coach of over 1500 games and two National Championships, John has long been known as pioneer in the implementation of video and analytics to develop both the player and coach alike. This past year, John has co-founded a 2nd company, The Prospect Exchange, a video and analytics platform for players and coaches.

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In the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs there were a total of 70 games played. In 39 of those games, the team trailing pulled their G in favour of the extra attacker late in the 3rd. There has been much discussion and debate over how passive the defending teams appear to be. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. What you see are teams that are calculated in their defense by eliminating Royal Road goals and clogging the shooting lanes when opposition is in full control. But as far as pressure goes, teams are still pressuring in situations similar to penalty killing.

If you want to purely go by simple statistics, in the 39 games that the G was pulled, the attacking team scored a total of 5 goals with one of those coming off of a 6 on 4 situation. In contrast, the defending team scored a total of 23 goals while defending 5  on 6. In the games that the attacking team scored in favour of the extra attacker, only once (4/13 Colorado vs. San Jose) did the team that scored go onto win the game in OT. Bottom line, in sports you are paid to win games, and in this case, the defending team went onto win at a .974 winning %.

So after studying all 39 games and breaking down how teams are defending opposition, this is what I have found.


Situations where the defending team was aggressive.


4 Points of Pressure


1. Lost F/O



With most attacking teams having set plays drawn up during their timeouts so the mind set here is to disrupt the play before it actually gets set up. Unlike penalty killing, you can get two forwards out to pressure the points and be in shooting lanes relatively quick. Combine this hurried play on opposition’s D, the defending teams strong side D is quick to close on any play to the wall.



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