The following situations are not hypothetical and have happened to me several times in tournaments and I have subsequently been penalised for a crease violation. It also happens in pickup sometimes and at such times I can be heard yelling with ever increasing incredulity, “see, this is a crease violation! isn’t it dumb?”
Situation 1: I’m forechecking deep because the ball carrier playing the “last” position has retreated all the way home for some reason. Perhaps they want to release pressure because they have one or two footed-down players. The smart thing for them to do to release pressure is to ride behind goal and wait. I am not interested in following them behind goal for reasons that should be obvious. Instead, I ride in front of their goal and wait for them to make a move. At this point I am in the crease. My aim is to keep them pinned behind goal. Perhaps until my second player can swoop in on one side and pressure them and I can switch to covering the desperate pass that they will attempt or something similar.
If they are a very strong team and I’m not confident having two players that deep then I’m still trying to keep them from escaping from behind the net and mirroring their movement so that should they emerge I will have their front wheel covered and if they give up and pass I can switch to covering the pass from the new ball carrier as my “two” should now be covering the ball carrier. There’s no good reason for me to give up this position especially if they have no pass options. Sometimes they have a goalie in and sometimes not, it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this explanation. All that matters is that they are behind the goal and I’m in front of goal in the crease waiting for them to try and escape on one side. All the player with the ball has to do is wait until 3 seconds have elapsed and I have to ride away. The only smart place for me to be is in the crease playing cat and mouse and yet this is not allowed.
There aren’t many players who are able to escape this pressure and end up beating the front wheel of the player in front of the goal if the player forechecking has a strong pivot game. If we extend the crease to the backboards then the ball will be in the crease when this tactic is used and the forechecking player will then have the right to occupy space in the crease until 3 seconds after the ball exits the crease.
Situation 2: I am chasing a player down the wing approaching my goal and I have a goalie in. Which wing doesn’t matter. Let’s say rather than shoot I see their intention to go behind goal. If I follow her it’s obvious she will run tight to the goal and use it to block my path. So, instead, I go in front of the goal and follow her trajectory aiming to emerge on the other side in front of her front wheel. When she is directly behind goal and I am directly in front she realises that if she continues that I’m likely going to take her wheel and perhaps dispossess her of the ball so she pivots 180 and I copy. She notices that I have copied her movement and so she stops and waits or perhaps continues her game of cat and mouse with another pivot. At this point, I am in the crease given with my goalie in and the three-second count has begun at the point I intitally entered the crease.
One unfortunate result of the way the crease currently functions is that there are good motivating reasons at this point to wait it out until one of us has to leave the crease. I don’t believe my team has made any tactical errors and we have done everything perfectly in order to cover the ball carrier, tend goals and cover the pass; the job of the third player in this situation. There is no good reason for me or my goalie to do anything but wait for her to emerge. She isn’t getting out from behind goals without me or my goalie stuck to her front wheel. If however, the crease included the area behind the goal we would have the right to occupy the space in question until she emerges with the ball or makes a passing play.