USCHO reported today that the NCHC will be adding a 3 on 3 overtime period following the standard 5 on 5 overtime to decide the extra point in league games. It's a big sign that the new 3 on 3 overtime system, which will be instituted in the NHL this season, might see more of an expansion into other leagues in the coming years.
There's a big caveat though -- the NCHC will still have a penalty shootout to determine a winner after the 3 on 3, and the 3 on 3 will not have any affect on the national standings or statistics. That means that after the 5 on 5 overtime period, the game will officially end in a tie, and any overtime goals/assists/penalties/what have you will not count toward national statistics.
There's no doubt that the 3 on 3 overtime is here to stay. The hybrid 4v4/3v3 overtime system in the AHL was a wild success last year, both in terms of fan support and in terms of how many games ended without a shootout.
By adding a 3-on-3 element to its overtime format, the AHL had 75 percent of its games that went past regulation time in 2014-15 decided in overtime. The number was 35.3 percent in 2013-14, when they played under a 4-on-4 overtime format.
The question is, how quickly will the other leagues, both inside and outside the NCAA, follow suit? Hockey East in particular has been hesitant to move away from traditional 5 on 5, opting to end its games with a tie rather than go to a shootout. It's the only "power" conference that has league games end in a tie.
The popularity of the 3 on 3 overtime, combined with the fact that it's actual hockey, rather than a skills competition, may be enough to sway Hockey East into making a change.
What do you think? Should Hockey East add a 3 on 3 overtime period after 5 on 5, like the NCHC? Should it add a shootout as well if the game is still tied? And should the NCAA add 3 on 3 league-wide and include wins in the Pairwise? Vote below, and let us know how you feel in the comments.