An AHL game consists of three twenty-minute periods. During the regular season, if a game is tied at the end of regulation time, each team is awarded a point then the teams skate an overtime period no longer than five minutes. If a team scores during the overtime period, the game is over and the scoring team is the winner and awarded an additional point. If no goal is scored in overtime during regular season, a shootout follows to determine the winner.
CENTER: The Center is a forward position that is primarily focused in the middle of the ice, rather than along the side boards. Of all six players on the ice, the center is expected to cover the most distance on the offensive and defensive ends, making centers typically the best all-around players on the team.
WINGER (LEFT AND RIGHT): Wingers come in pairs of two and complete the three-man forward line, with one wing alongside the center on each flank. Wingers are depended on down low as offensive threats, while on the defensive side, they guard the opposing team’s defenseman at the point.
DEFENSEMAN: At even strength there are two defenseman on the ice at all times with the primary intent of preventing their opposition from scoring a goal. Defenseman are the last line of coverage before the goaltender and typically play in front of and around the net in the defensive zone.
GOALTENDER: The goaltender is indeed the last line of defense, spending nearly the entirety of every game in his goal crease in front of the net. The goaltender’s job is simple: prevent the puck from going into the net.
PUCK POSSESSION: Puck possession (also referred to as “puck management”) is imporant in hockey, referring to how often (and for how long) a team controls the puck. Simply put, the more you have the puck, the more offense (passes and shots on goal) you can create and the more goals you can score. If the Heat have possession of the puck, then the other team doesn’t and as a result can’t score a goal!
DEFENSIVE PLAY: The art of keeping the puck out of your own net. Defenseman and centers typically play down low in the defensive zone, while wingers play up high. The primary objective is to keep the puck out of the net and out of the middle of the ice.
CHECKING: Body checking is the primary defensive tactic, used to regain possession of the puck and/or to take an opposing player “out of the play”. Checking can be done with the stick or the body, with the primary objective to separate the opposing player from the puck so that the checking team regains possession of the puck.
FIGHTING: Fighting is not permitted in the playing rules of hockey and when it takes place, the players are penalized, but it is considered by most fans as “a part of the game”, traditionally used to change the momentum of the game to the provoking team due to its severity.