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Breakaway (ice hockey)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Breakaway during a game between the  Guildford Flames and the Milton Keynes Lightning
Breakaway during a game between the Guildford Flames and the Milton Keynes Lightning

A breakaway is a situation in ice hockey in which a player with the puck has no defending players, except for the goaltender, between himself and the opposing goal, leaving him free to skate in and shoot at will (before the out-of-position defenders can catch him). A breakaway is considered a lapse on the part of the defending team. If a player's progress is illegally impeded by an opposing player or if the goalie throws his stick at the oncoming player, the breakaway player is awarded a penalty shot. If a player faces an empty net (i.e. the opposing team has pulled their goalie) and is illegally impeded by an opposing player, he is automatically awarded a goal for his team instead of taking a penalty shot.

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  • ✪ How to Play Ice Hockey : How to Score on a Breakaway in Ice Hockey
  • ✪ NHL: Breakaway Goals
  • ✪ Ice Hockey - Playing a breakaway


Hey, I'm Tim McKeig of the UNCW Seahawks, and I'm going to show you today how to score on a breakaway. Now a breakaway is when you're one on one with the goaltender, no defense men, you and the goalie. Now your objective is to ultimately score on the goalie. Scoring can be done in many different ways, you can deke or shoot. Some of the things you may want to remember while doing these moves, would be to keep speed going towards the net. You don't want to slow down and give the goalie an opportunity to setup, and know what you're going to do, you want to keep him on his toes, guessing. You don't know if you're going to deke or shoot. Some specific examples of how to score on a breakaway, could be a backhand deke, forehand deke, or a shot. First I'll explain to you the backhand deke. This move can be used during a breakaway, when you think the goalie may be a little bit out of his net, giving you more angle to deke, and maybe go around him. Some strategies you may want to use when coming in is, make sure you stay full speed at the goalie, you don't want to slow down. And sometimes even approaching the goalie at an angle will help. Now like I said, this is the backhand deke. So eventually you're going to want to end up on your backhand for a backhand shot. Some ways to do this would be to deke, which is just like a juke, right to your forehand, back to your backhand, for a backhand shot. This would be considered a backhand deke. Now another thing you may want to do, is a forehand deke, effective just like the backhand deke, except you're going to be taking the shot off of your forehand, which is mostly favored by most players, for better accuracy and power. Some strategies when doing this, would also be to deke to your backhand, bring it to your forehand for your shot. When approaching the goalie, once again, make sure you keep your speed up, your head up, and you don't want to telegraph too much what you're going to be doing, keep the goalie guessing. Now, another approach besides the deke, would be, just to shoot on the goalie. When coming in to shoot, usually you would use this strategy when the goal keeper is further back in his net, giving you more space to shoot at. When coming down, remember, once again, keep your speed, and sometime approaching at an angle does help. When coming in for a shot, you don't want to give the goalie too much indication of what you will be doing, try to keep him guessing once again. Usually a forehand shot would be most effective, and usually a wrist shot or a snap shot would be used rather than a slap shot in this breakaway situation. And those would be some ways to score on a breakaway in ice hockey.

Defense against a breakaway

  • One theory about the best way for the goalie to react to a breakaway is called the "Y" theory. In this theory the goalie comes out to somewhere between halfway between the faceoff circle hashes and the crease or up to the hashes. From there the goalie lines up to the puck and skates backwards, following the puck. Based on the player's actions, the goalie can then drop and take the shot. If the player goes diagonally with the puck, the goalie splits off from going straight back and then goes diagonal either way. The "Y" comes from the going straight back and then the diagonal movement. That forms a "Y" representing how a goalie can potentially play that breakaway.
  • Another way the goalie can respond is to follow the blade of the stick. If it is more towards one side or the other, the goalie can usually anticipate where the shot is going to hit.
  • Yet another way is that if the shot is going to be high (can be determined if the stick blade is upright on the ice 90 degrees), the goalie can move up to cut off the angle on the player, and go down right before the shot is taken. This way, there is more of a chance that the puck will not go over the goalie into the net.
  • A goalie can go up to the player, dive down sideways, and collide with the player, forcing them to chip the puck over the goalie, or deke. Though this strategy for goalies can be risky, it can usually work, considering that usually the player's head is down looking at the puck, allowing the goalie to surprise the player. This term is collectively known as the "two-pad stack" or the "Hextall" because Ron Hextall was famous for diving and stacking the pads to take out opposing players' legs.(See at 1:25)[permanent dead link] This is not recommended though at youth hockey levels as it can be very dangerous.
  • Until the mid-2010s, a way to avoid a particularly threatening breakaway (multiple skaters with no defenders approaching the net) would be to deliberately unseat the goalposts to stop play; although it was illegal, the resulting penalty shot would be contested with only one player (and be subject to the restrictions therein, such as continuously moving forward), reducing the chances of being scored upon. Most leagues began increasing the severity of the penalty on this tactic after goaltender David Leggio exploited it twice; in North America, such a move will result in the goaltender being ejected from the game, while in Germany, the goal is automatically awarded.

See also


  • Podnieks, Andrew (2007). The Complete Hockey Dictionary. Fenn Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55168-309-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
This page was last edited on 18 February 2020, at 00:31
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