How To Defend A 3 On 2 In Hockey

Defending a 3 on 2 in hockey can be challenging, but with the right strategies and techniques, you can effectively shut down the opposing team’s offensive play. Here are five supporting facts to help you defend a 3 on 2 situation in hockey:
1. Maintain proper positioning: Positioning is crucial when defending a 3 on 2. As a defender, try to position yourself between the puck carrier and the net, while also being aware of the other two attacking players. This will allow you to disrupt passing lanes and make it difficult for the opposing team to create scoring opportunities.

2. Communicate with your teammates: Effective communication is key to successfully defending a 3 on 2. Constantly talk to your teammates, providing them with information about the opposing players’ whereabouts and keeping everyone on the same page. This will help in making quick decisions and prevent defensive breakdowns.

3. Stay on your feet: When defending a 3 on 2, it is crucial to avoid being caught flat-footed. Stay on your skates and maintain mobility, allowing you to quickly react to changes in the play and prevent the attackers from capitalizing on openings.

4. Use active stick positioning: Utilize your stick effectively by keeping it active and in passing lanes. By doing so, you can disrupt the flow of the play, intercept passes, or force the attackers to make riskier decisions, giving your team a better chance of regaining possession.

5. Apply pressure selectively: While it may be tempting to apply constant pressure on the puck carrier, it is important to be smart about when and where to apply it. Instead of rushing in recklessly, be patient and choose the right moment to pressure the opponent. This will help prevent them from finding open players while minimizing the chance of being beaten defensively.


1. What if I get caught out of position while defending a 3 on 2?
If you find yourself out of position, focus on recovering quickly and getting back into the play. Communicate with your teammates to ensure someone covers for you temporarily, and be ready to make a defensive play as soon as possible.

2. Should I prioritize blocking passing lanes or focusing on the puck carrier?
While both are important, it is often recommended to prioritize blocking passing lanes. By disrupting the flow of the play and forcing the attackers to make riskier passes, you can significantly reduce the chances of a successful scoring opportunity.

3. How can I improve my communication skills on the ice?
Communication skills can be improved through practice and experience. Try to be vocal during games and practices, and make it a habit to constantly provide updates and information to your teammates. Additionally, actively listen to your teammates’ instructions and respond quickly when necessary.

4. Is it better to take away shooting lanes or force a rushed shot in a 3 on 2 situation?
Ideally, you should aim to take away shooting lanes first. By positioning yourself between the shooters and the net, you increase the chances of blocking or disrupting the shot. However, if you are unable to close shooting lanes, pressuring the puck carrier to force a rushed shot can be a viable alternative.

5. Can I use physicality to defend a 3 on 2?
While physical play can be effective in certain situations, it is important to use it selectively and legally. Focus on body positioning, stick checking, and angling opponents rather than relying solely on physicality. Avoid unnecessary penalties, as they can put your team at a further disadvantage.

6. How can I anticipate the opposing team’s plays in a 3 on 2 situation?
Analyzing game situations, studying opponents’ tendencies, and understanding the flow of the game can help you anticipate the opposing team’s plays. By doing so, you can position yourself more effectively, anticipate passes, and increase your chances of making defensive plays.

7. What if I am the lone defender in a 3 on 2 situation?
If you are the only defender in a 3 on 2 situation, focus on delaying the attackers and buying time for your teammates to get back into the play. Maintain a defensive position, prioritize blocking passing lanes, and be patient. If possible, try to steer the play to the outside and force the attackers to take low-percentage shots.

BOTTOM LINE: Successfully defending a 3 on 2 in hockey requires proper positioning, effective communication, and active stick usage. By maintaining mobility, selectively applying pressure, and anticipating the opponent’s moves, you can significantly increase your chances of defending against the odds. Remember to stay disciplined, make smart decisions, and work together with your teammates to shut down the opposition’s offensive play.