“OT, OT, there’s never much love when we go OT,” was said in Drizzy Drake Rogers’ No. 1 song “One Dance.”
Good thing he was just abbreviating for “out of town” and not talking about overtime in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), because the new overtime format deserves much love and much, much more.
“I love it,” said Harrison Watt, the play-by-play broadcaster for Ferris State hockey, “I think it’s awesome for the fans to be able to go home with a result.”
In previous years, if the score was tied at the end of regulation, the game would go into a five-minute sudden death overtime. If neither team scored a goal in overtime, the contest would end in a tie.
“You’ve probably heard people refer to ties as ‘Un-American.’ I might not go quite that far, but I’m not at all a fan of a tie,” Watt said.
The new overtime format starts with five minutes of five-on-five hockey and if neither team scores it is followed by five minutes of three-on-three play. If the three-on-three goes scoreless, the game is decided by a sudden death shootout.
On top of the change in format, the point system in the WCHA has changed as well.
If a team wins in regulation or in the first five minutes of five-on-five play in overtime, they are awarded three points while the losing team doesn’t receive any points. If either team wins during the three-on-three or in a shootout, that team receives two points while the other gets one.
“It’s action packed and there’s a lot of scoring chances,” said Ferris State hockey Head Coach Bob Daniels. “I think the three-on-three is unbelievably exciting. I think the fans are going to really enjoy it, and I think it’s way better than just going to a shootout. It’s closer to normal hockey than a shootout is.”
In addition, if a game goes past the first five-minute overtime, it is counted as a tie by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rankings.
In terms of strategy, Daniels said the approach during those first five minutes should be balanced.
“If you take a risk and it backfires and they get a two-on-one the other way and a score, then you just walked out of there with nothing,” Daniels said.
The 1-7-1 Bulldogs will try to pick up six points as they travel to Bowling Green this weekend to play the Falcons at 8:07 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4 and 7:07 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5.