A term that refers to a situation in which the offensive player is able carry the puck between the opposing team's two defensemen getting past them. Splitting the Defense generally allows the player to make a play on net one on one with the goalie.
Also referred to as "Splitting the D."
This offensive play occurs when the puck carrier crosses the blue line and enters the opponent's defensive zone and carries the puck between the two opposing defensemen, usually resulting in a scoring chance.
But because hockey's a contact sport it's considered a somewhat difficult maneuver to achieve since the puck carrier is outnumbered by the defensemen and they're allowed to use their bodies and/or sticks to legally slow him down. The puck carrier usually has to have a full head of steam to split the defense and must be pretty adept at stickhandling. It's also possible to split the defense in the puck carrier's own zone as well as in the neutral zone when he's breaking out of his own end or crossing the center ice red line.