Germany's Spacial Awareness
WJC22 Tactical Focus
Earlier this week I tweeted favourably about Germany U20’s offensive tactics. After falling 3-1 to Finland in its opening game, GER upset Czechia thanks to a 2-1 overtime win.
The first goal of the GER-CZE game, scored by Alex Blank in the second period, encapsulated the German knack for creating space with sound player and puck movement.
First Step: Beat F1
CZE holds a 19-8 advantage in shots against a GER side that collapsed to the slot in DZ coverage. However, GER recovers possession and beats the first CZE forechecker up-ice.
CZE falls back into a 1-1-3 NZ forecheck, with four players taking on the rush skating backwards.
Second Step: Change Side
Recognizing that CZE is overloading one side of the side, the GER puck carrier zips a cross-ice pass into a wide 1v1 between a GER F and a backpedaling defender.
This is a favourable matchup for the attackers.
In addition, notice how a GER F gets off the wall and slashes across the ice. He is our eventual goal-scorer.
Third Step: Between Checks
The GER puck carrier’s speed differential carries him past a mis-timed hip check attempt.
Meanwhile, Blank, the support player, has skated between checks and is in space between four defenders.
The other GER F is driving the back post, creating a weak-side 2v1.
Fourth Step: The Finish
Because GER has done such a good job of setting up the play, Blank now has a puck in the low slot that he can either shoot or pass cross-seam.
The CZE goalie respects the passing threat and loads his left leg in anticipation of a pass across.
However, Blank wrong-foots him and scores short-side.