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A break out is a play that moves the puck out of the defensive zone with the intention of creating a scoring opportunity. During a break out all players must support the puck carrier and avoid low-percentage plays. This low percentage plays include, but not limited to: passing through players, aerial passes, and dangling opponents. There are many variations of a break out. However, they all start with the same basic structure and principles.
The basic break out begins with the defense obtaining puck possession near their own goal line. In anticipation of the developing play, the forwards skate toward the hash marks near the boards to receive a pass. Typically, the winger that is least guarded, or has most room to skate will receive the pass from the defense. It is important to note that the pass from the defense can come directly from the teammate’s stick or off of the boards. Once the player has puck possession, they can choose to skate with the puck or pass it to another open player. Similar to many other sports, the opponent will always pressure the player in control, in this case the puck carrier. Therefore, the players without the puck are just as important as the skater with the puck. Once the pressure reaches the puck carrier, the best option is to pass to an open teammate. When done successfully, it allows enough time for each player to skate and pass the puck wisely.