Starting in 2016-17, Western Collegiate Hockey Association league games will no longer end in a tie. On Tuesday, the league announced that the WCHA had adopted the 3-on-3 overtime format. This season, each conference game will have a winner and a loser.
Like the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, if the game is tied after a five-minute 5-on-5 overtime period, the WCHA will now use a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime. If the game is still tied at the end of the 3-on-3 overtime, the teams will go to a sudden shootout.
The new overtime rules will only affect conference standings. Teams that lose in a 3-on-3 overtime or the shootout will record a tie for NCAA purposes. During the WCHA postseason, the league will use the NCAA 20-minute overtime format to break regulation ties.
“The WCHA is committed to evolving and adapting however possible to maximize the overall experience for our student-athletes, programs and fans,” WCHA Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson said in a press release. “These initiatives will bring a new element of excitement to all areas of WCHA hockey, from opening up more space on the ice, to bringing resolution for each league game and adding another wrinkle to the always-thrilling races for home-ice advantage and the MacNaughton Cup. It is a testament to our member-institution administrators and coaches that, together, we brought forth positive changes that have proven to be successful, and are in line with what our fans and players want.”
Beginning with the 2016-17 season, each WCHA regular season league game will be worth three points, awarded as follows:
- Game decided in regulation: three (3) points to winning team
- Game decided in 5-on-5 overtime (five minutes, sudden death): three (3) points to winning team
- Game decided in 3-on-3 overtime (five minutes, sudden death): two (2) points to winning team, one (1) point to losing team
- Game decided in shootout (sudden death): two (2) points to winning team, one (1) point to losing team
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.