Forechecking is a defensive scheme designed to pressure the opposing team in the offensive zone. Most teams will not forecheck for an entire game, but will implement the strategy depending on in-game situations. There are several different forechecking formations that are designed to trap or slow down an opponent's progress on offense.
In the 2-1-2 set, the high forwards will press hard and aggressively push opposing players toward the boards. The third forward remains in the slot and will help trap opposing players. The two defenseman support the forwards and pinch in. The goal of this system is to pin the offense, and not let them exit the offensive zone.
The 1-3-1 is designed to push the puck towards the boards where two forecheckers will trap the puck carrier. This type of forecheck is only successful when the defensive team outnumbers the offense in the zone. The 1-3-1 requires four players to forecheck, while one defenseman stays above the offensive zone and acts as a safety support.
The 1-2-2 formation is designed to flush an offensive team away from center ice. In this formation, three forwards are in the offensive zone and a single high forward presses the puck. The two defenders remain back in the neutral zone. Most teams will implement this form of forechecking when they are ahead to waste the clock and make it harder on the opposition to advance the puck.
1-4 forecheck formation involves four players standing in the neutral zone, while one forward pressures inside the offensive zone. This conservative forecheck is a bend don't break system that is designed to apply pressure, but eliminate breakaway plays toward the goaltender. When the offense advances the puck into the neutral zone, the four defenders will trap the puck and disrupt passing lanes.
Forechecking is when the defensive team pressures the opposing team inside the offensive zone. Forechecking involves the forwards playing aggressive defense to try and create a turnover near the opposing goal. Backchecking is when the defensive team retreats quickly to protect their defensive zone. Backchecking is the counter result of a forecheck. If the offense breaks the forecheck, the pressing forwards must hustle back in order to eliminate easy scoring chances.
F1 stands for the position of first forward in hockey. The letter "F" stands for "forward" and the number "1" stands for the placement on the ice. This player will be the first to enter the offensive zone when forechecking. Their job is to chase the puck and force the offense into the forechecking trap. Since F1 plays high in the offensive zone, this player is usually the best offensively skilled player on the ice.
The hockey rink is separated by two blue lines. Each area designated by the blue lines is called a zone. The zone in which a team is trying to score in is known as the offensive zone. An offensive player cannot enter the offensive zone before the puck, or an offsides penalty will be called. When teams forecheck, they are applying pressure on the opposing team in the offensive zone to try and create a turnover near the opposing goal.
Offsides is a penalty in hockey that will be called when an offensive player enters the offensive zone before the puck. To distinguish an offsides penalty, a player must have both skates across the blue offensive zone line. Players will commonly drag their skate or stop completely at the blue line to avoid offsides. Moreover, offsides will not be called if a player enters the offensive zone before the puck. Once the player touches the puck, play will then be stopped and a faceoff will occur.