Today, it was announced, that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will use the shootout to break ties during conference match-ups, if the game is tied after a standard five-minute overtime period.
The NCHC will also use a points system that is “similar” to the one that NHL uses during the regular season to award points for conference wins and ties. The only two exceptions are; teams that lose during the sudden-death overtime period will not receive a single point, like teams in the NHL currently do. Also, NHL teams do not get three points for a win in regulation.
All NCHC regular-season conference match-ups will feature a shootout should the game end in a tie at the conclusion of a five-minute overtime period. Any game that uses a shootout will be officially recorded as a tie within the overall record of each team. The Pairwise ranking will be calculated knowing the game was officially recorded as a tie.
The shootout will feature three shooters pre-selected by each team following the conclusion of overtime. The team that scores the most goals among the three shooters will be declared the winner. Should the shootout be tied at the conclusion of the initial three shooters, a sudden- death round with one shooter from each team will commence until a winner is declared. Goaltenders will remain on the same ends of the ice for the shootout as they were for the five-minute overtime period.
Each conference game will be worth three points. Three points will be awarded to any team that wins a game in regulation or within the five-minute sudden-death overtime period. One point will be awarded to each team in a game that remains tied at the conclusion of the overtime period. One additional point will be awarded to the team who wins the shootout, giving that team two points total for winning the game in a shootout. A team that loses in regulation or during the five-minute overtime period will receive zero points. [NCHC Hockey]
While this move is going to be a controversial to some NCHC hockey fans, I think it’s a smart move by the NCHC to adopt the shootout. Why not? To me, it seems like a no-brainer. According to College Hockey Inc., Division I College hockey is responsible for providing and supplying about 30 percent of the players that play in the NHL. If Division I college hockey is going to continue to be a top development league and a route to the NHL, College hockey rules “should” closely mirror those of the NHL.
Currently, the Ontario Hockey League of the Canadian Hockey League, one of the top developmental Junior Hockey Leagues in North American, uses the shootout during the regular-season, to break ties. When the game is tied at the end of the five minute overtime period, the teams then proceed to a shootout. So, if the shootout is working in the CHL, it could work in Division I hockey as well. Honestly, I don’t see what all of the fuss is about.
In conclusion, I am sure there are fans that won’t like the shootout to settle ties, but I am sure we won’t see them leaving the arena either. Why would they leave with the game in doubt? I predict, that these fans will be on the edge of their seats and will continue to watch the end of the game until its conclusion and will be cheering as well.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.