The NCHC will be college hockey’s testing ground for a new overtime structure. The three-year-old conference that includes Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State will use a 3-on-3 format to decide the extra point in the standings after a game ends in a tie throughout the 2015-16 season.
If a conference game is tied after the NCAA-mandated 5-on-5 overtime, play will continue with a five-minute 3-on-3 period. If neither team scores, the game will go into a sudden death shootout instead of the three-man shootout format used the past two seasons.
The NCHC and Big Ten are the only conferences using shootouts to determine extra points in the standings.
The experimental 3-on-3 rule was approved by the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee in July. Non-conference games at NCHC venues will follow the same overtime protocol if the visiting team consents.
“I think others around the world of hockey have shown what great excitement 3-on-3 overtime can bring to the game,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing this same excitement to NCHC student-athletes and fans during the coming year.”
The NCHC will also begin using NHL-sized nets, 40 inches deep at its base and 18 inches deep on top of the goal. Most NCAA-sized nets are 44 inches deep at the base and 20 inches deep on top. The change will allow more room to maneuver behind the goal and possibly create more scoring chances.