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A forecheck is a way of pressuring the opposing team in hopes of gaining control of the puck. The offense successfully forechecks when they force the opposing defense to make a low-percentage play in their own defensive zone. These low percentage plays include but are not limited to: aerial passes, dumping the puck, skating into pressure, and passing within reach of opponents.
One approach to forechecking is also known as the 2-1-2 formation. This formation begins by pressuring the defense utilizing the “dump and chase” method. Once the puck is ‘dumped’, the forward closest to the puck races to beat the opponent for possession. If the forward does not beat the opponent to the puck, then it is their job to eliminate the defense physically. One way this can be accomplished is by physically angling the defender to the outside. During this time, the second forward should be trying to regain puck control. As soon as the second forward reaches the puck, the third forward should just be entering the “high slot” area. Timing is critical during the forecheck. The third forward must time their entrance into the high slot to provide their battling forwards with multiple options. If the player in the “high slot” area sees the forward struggling to get the puck to the net, then they must go to the corner to support the puck.