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The Hermantown Usi 4v3

By Minnesota Hockey & CoachThem, 10/17/22, 8:00AM CDT



Hermantown High School Boys' Hockey head coach Patrick Andrews shares one of his favorite competition drills that works on all aspects of the game.


  • In the D-end, defend from the inside out.
  • On the break out, make tape-to-tape passes, or deliberate board passes, you have the extra guy. Rimming the puck is not allowed.
  • On the break-out, puck support is encouraged and will greatly help the break-out process. Encourage the weakside forward to "slash" or come to the puck to support the strongside forward.
  • Encourage the D man to jump up and find open ice to join the rush as an offensive threat.
  • Encourage forwards to enter with speed, but also vary their speed of attack to allow the third man to catch up and join the rush.
  • The third man (defenseman) joining adds layers to the attack, pre-teach the players how to create those layers and how to identify when the layers present themselves.
  • Encourage the offensive player to use the line rush quickly as the back checkers are coming to defend.
  • On the forecheck, angling is key as the forecheckers are outnumbered by the defenders. One pass can not beat two guys.
  • Encourage the players to stay above the puck and attack downhill.
  • When the puck switches sides or one forechecker is beaten, it is imperative that the F1, who is now beaten, reloads the forecheck to become F3 and get above the puck once again.



  • All players are in the center face-off circle. This is strategic. Do not put players on the benches. The middle of the neutral zone should be clogged up, which forces the break out up the strong side and encourages puck support from the weak side.
  • Put four players (X) in the zone; they are on defense first. Put three players on the blue line (O). They will be on offense first.
  • There should be four (Os) ready to go; two (offensive Os) on the red line ready to backcheck, and two (defensive Os) on the blue line ready to take the line rush.
  • The drill starts with the three (Os) attacking into the zone to play offense. The four (Xs) will defend and break out.
  • When the (Xs) breakout, one defenseman will join the two forwards and attack the (Os) end. The coach can choose before the drill starts if the strong side D joins, or if the weak side D joins the rush.
  • When the (Xs) cross the redline in attack, the two (O) forwards will back-check the play and then play defense in the zone. The two (O) defensemen take the line rush and play D.
  • Four new (Xs) jump out, two forwards on the redline ready to back-check and two defensemen on the blueline ready to take the line rush.
  • The drill then goes continuously. If a goal is scored, or the goalie freezes the puck, the coach will dump in a new puck to keep the drill going.

Find this drill in the Minnesota Hockey Drill Share Group on CoachThem.

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