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NCAA Rules Committee Adopts Changes to College Hockey Overtime

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4-on-4 is finally coming

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There are some changes coming (finally) to college hockey overtime, based on a vote by the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee over the weekend.

11 years after the NHL adopted five minutes of 4-on-4 OT, the college game is finally poised to join them in that rule change, with a final vote set for July 20 after coaches are given a window for feedback.

In addition to adopting 4-on-4 OT, the Committee also support conferences' use of an additional 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT followed by a shootout. The 3-on-3 OT and shootout would be for league points only and would not impact national record or rankings.

The other noteworthy item to come out of the committee vote was that the RPI would be tweaked to offer some reward to teams that lose in 4-on-4 OT vs. a regulation loss. I'm not sure that's a necessary change, but we'll see how radical of a shift it is when they finalize it.

In general, these are positive changes, but I wouldn't be supportive of Hockey East adding an additional 3-on-3 OT and shootout just because it would end up leading to confusing, Frankenstein records like 12-4-5-6-2 if a 4-on-4 OT win counts for real, while a 3-on-3 OT win is just for league points.

My preference would be for 5 minutes of 4-on-4 and 5 minutes of 3-on-3 to be adopted nationally, with just the shootout being an option for league points. But with the NHL resisting going in that direction, I doubt we'll see it in the NCAA either.

The important thing, however, is not letting a shootout creep in to the Pairwise considerations. That would be horrendously unfair, given how tight the rankings are each season and how narrow the margin is between being in and being out.