Shootouts for an extra point in the conference standings? On the way out. Three-on-three overtime? Likely kaput. Different overtime rules for different conferences? Going away.
The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee on Thursday approved a standard overtime format that would begin in the 2018-19 season. Teams would play five minutes of five-on-five sudden-death overtime, and if neither team scores in OT, the game would be declared a tie. This applies to all regular-season games and in-season tournaments. In NCAA tournament play, five-on-five, 20-minute sudden-death OT periods will remain.
The move would eliminate alternate formats to award points in conference standings, including shootouts and three-on-three OT periods. Any rule changes must get approval from the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss it in a July 25 teleconference.
Gophers coach Bob Motzko, who coached St. Cloud State this season before taking the Minnesota job, was in favor of a uniform OT rule. “It’s confusing for fans,’’ Motzko said in May. “It would be nice if we could get on the same page.’’
The Big Ten had five minutes of five-on-five OT, followed by a shootout to award an extra point in the conference standings. The NCHC and WCHA both used five minutes of five-on-five sudden-death OT to determine a win, loss or tie. After that, teams would play five minutes of sudden-death three-on-three OT and a sudden-death shootout, with the winner receiving an extra point in the conference standings.
Motzko liked the three-on-three OT to award an extra point, similar to what the NHL uses. “Fans like three-on-three. Let’s do it,’’ he said in May. “The players would love it.’’
The NCHC issued a statement saying it was disappointed in the decision to move away from the three-on-three period and that it will voice its concerns during the upcoming NCAA comment period in hopes that the rules committee will reconsider.
“While differing opinions were expressed, at the end of the day the committee strongly endorsed a single overtime option, cleaning up the book and affirming the belief that hockey is played, for the most part, in a five-on-five format,” Joe Bertagna, Hockey East commissioner and chair of the committee, said in a statement. “While the time might come where college hockey will employ a reduced manpower overtime, the prevailing voices on the committee did not see that time as now.”
In regular-season tournaments that require teams to advance, a five-minute sudden-death OT period would be played, with the option of either a shootout or 20-minute sudden-death period. In conference tournaments, a 20-minute OT period or a minigame format would be options.