This is the most complete team we’ve faced in the last 4 years. They don’t seem to have just one or two guys a la Pius, they just play fairly solid as a group on offense.
– They can all pass, and will aggressively feed the crease. We need to reinforce that guys stick to crease man like white-on-rice. This isn’t like teams we typically play that only feed crease when he’s wide open; if the crease guy can get his stick up, they will look to hit it. Same thing with cutters — we need to be aggressive on sticks inside.
– They will rotate just about anyone onto the crease. So the 2-slide is CRITICAL. We need that 2-slide to not only release the hot slide, but know to stick to his new man tight, and knock down sticks if they feed the crease.
– We also need to cover collapsing on the crease if the ball gets inside. They have quick releases and are pretty good stick handlers, so we can’t chase sticks or think that just one defender can clear the crease. If anyone gets inside, we need to contract around them like an amoeba, then expand back out when the ball goes to the perimeter.
– They will also shoot from ANYWHERE inside the box. If any of our guys play loose or don’t get hands on them, all 6 guys on offense aren’t afraid to rip. We can’t give up freebie rips. We need to reinforce good approaches — WITH STICKS OUT — and getting on guys’ hands.
– Their wings have very quick releases off the feed. Our guys need to be ready to close out FAST and HARD.
– We do need to be cognizant of shot fakes though. They have multiple guys who will throw a big shot fake then step inside.
– Their X attackman — #1 — is very heady. He will sneak up to GLE when the ball is up top. They love to skip it to him from up top, or even throw a big shot fake that’s really a pass to the crease. WE CANNOT BALL-WATCH, and the low defenders can’t lose sight of #1 when he’s off-ball.
– #1 will also attack from X. ISO-pinch vital.
– They’re all righties EXCEPT for #19. He’s a big, physical lefty who typically plays wing on goalie’s left side. He likes to use his size to back in and then just turn and rip. He also seeks out contact. [Wolhlfarht assignment.] He doesn’t really dodge. Need to body him up. If any smaller guys get hung up on #19 (like Luke, Qadri, J’vion) they need to make sure they’re LIFTING his hands, staying low, and driving into his numbers; don’t try to create distance and guard him like a basketball player; he will just plow through.
– They can execute skip passes better than any of the teams we’ve faced recently. Everyone’s sticks need to be up in passing lanes at all times.
Defensive Keys: physicality and communication. 2-slide needs to be there, don’t ball-watch, close out on shooters, slide to body, keep sticks in passing lanes.
– HP’s Base O seems to be a 1-4-1, but they like to overload it:
This look allows them to have those double-stacked crease men rotate off one another to potentially catch an inside pass. It also lets them try to swing the ball around to the backside for a step-down (both thru X or up top).
– They usually always “pop” one of those crease guys up though, whether the ball is on the strong or weak side. As that happens, they can either hit the pop man for a step-down, have the pop man rollback to hit the up-top middie for a step-down, or they will have a triangle rotation with the the other crease guy:
– If they don’t have a triangle rotation, they always have that 2nd crease man fade on the backside of the pop:
This allows them to potentially hit the “fading” crease guy from the wing as the other guy pops up. That “fade” man will also look to go to high crease after he fades back, especially if the pop man moves it to the wing.
– It’s imperative our guys don’t ball-watch, and they communicate. The hot slide will change quickly based on who “pops,” so we need everyone on the same page and someone ready to step in as the 2-slide (that will typically be the weak side wing defender).
– On the clear, they leave 2 men low to lock off wings, and leave the goalie free. Zane can stretch, but we need middies in position up top, and to be ready to possibly go “diamond” with attack.
– MUST STAY ABOVE above your man. They threw the ball away a ton in this game. Don’t check, just get in the right position, and they’ll throw it away.
1) Big in size
2) He plays A TON OF BUTTERFLY, dropping to his knees almost instinctively. It seems counter-intuitive, but he can be beaten high. He drops to his knees on just about every shot — even when he doesn’t need to — but because of his size, he still covers a lot of cage.
3) He is VERY aggressive coming out of his cage, especially on fastbreaks or one-on-one’s on the doorstep. Be smart, and place your shot around him; but don’t hesitate or try to dance too much, because he will quickly smother you with his size.
4) He is fairly good at clearing to the 2nd level, like, to midfield or beyond. Their settled clear seems to be, let the giant goalie go behind the cage, then chuck it to a middie or attackman near midfield.
5) He is NOT comfortable having to handle the ball or facing pressure. Pressure him, and he will just chuck it downfield.
HP MAN DOWN
I did notice in this game, when they were man-down, they had their middie/stringer completely lock off one guy, and everyone else played 4v5. I wonder if they decide to do something with Briac.
HP runs a 2-3-1 and tries to dodge from X to shoot or draw and hit the wings.
HP runs a similar wheel to our NASCAR.