If you are a hockey fan, you have heard the term “pinch” a time or two. But, do you really know what it means?

The fact is, when a defensive player pinches, it can create a great scoring opportunity or create a dangerous two or three on one coming back to the player’s own end.

For hockey newbies, pinching is the act of holding or advancing off the opposing players’ blueline while the team is in their end. With a “pinch,” the team has a quick and often decisive advantage in the attacking end.

The Art of Pinching

The key to a proper pinch is to ensure the defensive player does one of the following:

  • Take the player
  • Take the puck

If neither of these tasks are accomplished then the entire team will be put at risk, as the breakout will be three on one, rather than three on two. The ultimate goal of a pinch is to keep the puck in the offensive end and to create an advantage for the rest of the team.

A Successful Pinch

In a 2013 match-up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, fans got a glimpse of a pinch play that worked out as planned and helped the team score.

In this video, viewers can see a defense pitch in twice, which resulted in the two on one, where Kassle passed the puck by shooting at the goalie. This resulted in a perfect rebound pass that went to a teammate, resulting in a score.

When Is a Pinch Unsuccessful?

There are several situations when a pinch play is going to be unsuccessful. Players should consider the following to ensure their efforts will provide the desired result.

Some of the times to avoid a pinch include:

  • If a player’s partner isn’t a strong defenseman.
  • If the other players aren’t in the proper position.
  • If there is no dominant lead on the team.
  • If the other team is strong, or if there is a strong line, a pinch may not be the right move.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to impressive hockey plays, there’s no question that a pinch can be a great move. However, getting to know when to make this move, and when to avoid it, is essential. With the information here, a hockey player should be able to determine when it is wise to try out this move.

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