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College hockey coaches remain hesitant to change overtimes

GRAND FORKS -- College hockey coaches continue to shoot down proposals to make overtime policies uniform across the country's six conferences.Currently, when games are tied at the end of regulation, a five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime is played in eac...

GRAND FORKS - College hockey coaches continue to shoot down proposals to make overtime policies uniform across the country’s six conferences.
Currently, when games are tied at the end of regulation, a five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime is played in each league.
After that, conferences are open to hold a 3-on-3 session or a shootout, even though those games still go down as a tie for NCAA Tournament, RPI and Pairwise formulas. The 3-on-3 or shootout count solely for conference points.
Four leagues - Hockey East, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, Atlantic Hockey and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association - end their games in a tie after the 5-on-5 overtime.
The Big Ten holds a three-player shootout.
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference uses a five-minute, 3-on-3 session. If nobody scores, it goes to a sudden-death shootout.
With a rising number of ties in all levels of hockey, the coaches discussed the possibility of making a uniform policy across college hockey, including going to 4-on-4 (as most leagues, including the NHL, currently do) or even 3-on-3.
The coaches demanded that if there’s a change to college overtime that there’s a change to the RPI and Pairwise formulas, which are used to select the 16-team NCAA Tournament field.
They suggested that wins in a non 5-on-5 setting aren’t rewarded as much as 5-on-5 victories and that losses in non 5-on-5 settings aren’t penalized as much.
But even with that proposal, it gained little traction.
Assuming that there’s no change on the national level, the NCHC plans to continue with its 3-on-3 plus sudden-death shootout formula. Only six of 96 league games went to the 3-on-3 last season and only one went to the shootout.
NCHC won’t follow Big Ten, WCHA’s lead
While the WCHA and Big Ten have plans to move future league tournaments to home sites of higher seeds, the NCHC will continue with its current formula of having a neutral site for the league semifinals and championship.
The NCHC made $1.2 million in revenue during its 2015-16 season, enough to give the conference a surplus. The NCHC has been putting its surplus money into a reserve account.
The NCHC plays its best-of-three quarterfinal series at the home site of the higher seed and its semifinals, championship and third-place game at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.
NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said that the league prefers to keep its current format.
“We’re in a great metro market in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in the heart of the conference and in a very important hockey market,” Fenton said.
Fenton said the NCHC Frozen Faceoff has been financially strong enough to warrant keeping it the same.
“It definitely has,” he said. “The financial setup or structure for the conference has played out, to some extent, how we thought it would. The positions have been healthy at the end of the fiscal year. That’s largely based on our postseason structure.”
The NCHC has two years remaining on its contract with the Target Center. The league says it is currently talking with the conference’s leadership structure and the Target Center about the future of the tournament.
The NCHC will have to decide if it wants to change venues, as the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul appears to be opening availability with the Big Ten and WCHA going to on-campus sites for its playoffs. The Big Ten and WCHA have alternated playing in the Xcel Energy Center the last three seasons.
Briefly
- After experimenting with dark jerseys at home for the second half of last season, the NCHC will return to wearing whites at home all year.
- NCHC.tv subscriptions increased by 30 percent last season and netted nearly $250,000 in profits. The league says it is working with NeuLion to make its streaming package available on Apple TV and Roku.
- CBS Sports Network picked up the fourth-year option on its contract with the NCHC and will continue broadcasting games next season.

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