College hockey’s overtime format just became more streamlined, with the NCAA emphasizing three-on-three OT and getting rid of five-on-five OT for the regular season.
The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday approved OT format changes for men’s and women’s hockey in both Division I and Division III. Here’s how it will work:
* If the score is tied after regulation, all regular-season games will have five minutes of three-on-three, sudden-death overtime. If neither team scores in OT, the game will be considered a tie and a three-person shootout could be used in conference games for an extra point in the league standings and in regular-season tournaments that require advancement.
* In nonconference games, if the score is tied after the three-on-three OT, the game will be considered a tie. There will not be a shootout.
The new format eliminates five minutes of five-on-five OT following regulation, instead going directly to three-on-three, then a shootout if needed. In the 2019-20 season, that two-OT was format used by the Big Ten, NCHC, WCHA and Atlantic Hockey in men’s play and the WCHA women’s league. The ECAC and Hockey East men did not play beyond the NCAA-mandated five-on-five OT.
* In terms of the Rating Percentage Index and PairWise Ratings – which influence the NCAA tournament selection formula -- a victory in three-on-three OT would not count the same as a regulation win. The specific values, such as a 60/40 or 55/45 split, are being discussed and must be OK’d by the NCAA Championship Committee and an oversight committee.
In the NCAA tournament and conference tournaments, the traditional format remains the same: 20-minute, sudden-death, five-on-five overtime periods until someone scores.
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved some other regulations:
* The “spin-o-rama’’ move on shootouts, in which a player does a 360-degree turn while skating toward the goal, will not be allowed.
* Teams on a power play will be allowed to decide which faceoff circle they want to use at the start of a power play after an icing violation.
* Officials will issue a warning on faceoff violations instead of ejecting a center. If a second violation by the same team happens during the same faceoff, that team will receive a two-minute bench minor penalty for delay of game.
* At the suggestion of the men’s and women’s hockey rules committee, the rule that required teams to shake hands after the game has been removed. Conferences and schools can decide postgame sportsmanship practices.