The NCHC is looking to change its overtime procedures after just two seasons, with five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime periods possibly coming in the future to reduce shootouts.
The NCHC detailed its intention to experiment with 3-on-3 overtimes in its “2014-15 Season: Year in Review” that was released this week. The seven-page document included a look back at last season as well as a look forward. It was presented to coaches, athletic directors and faculty athletic representatives during the league’s annual meeting held last month in Naples, Fla.
Under the plan, if a regular-season conference game is tied after three periods, the NCHC would continue to play the NCAA-mandated five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime period like it does now. If the game remained tied after five minutes of 5-on-5, the two teams would play 3-on-3 for five minutes. If the game still remained tied, there would be a sudden-death shootout to determine who gets the extra point in the league standings.
Currently the NCHC follows the five-minute, 5-on-5 OT period with a three-round shootout, followed by a sudden-death shootout to break ties during the regular season.
“I don’t like shootouts,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin, whose team has gone to a shootout in five of nine OT games since the creation of the NCHC. “I think (3-on-3 OT) is fun. It’s hockey. You watch junior hockey, it’s pretty entertaining, probably more than shootouts, in my opinion. If we can be a league that gets to do that, that’s good.”
The earliest the NCHC officially could begin using 3-on-3 OT periods is 2016-17 because right now NCAA rules do not permit a second overtime period, nor for teams to play 3-on-3. The NCAA does permit the use of teams playing 4-on-4 in overtime, but only in place of 5-on-5.
NCAA rules are amended every other year, with the next discussion of changes coming prior to the 2016-17 season. The NCHC already has informed the NCAA Rules Committee of its desire to add the experimental rule in the future, maybe as early as next season if permitted.
In March, NHL general managers recommended 3-on-3 overtime for the regular season. Currently the NHL plays 4-on-4 overtime periods. The American Hockey League plays seven-minute overtimes that begin 4-on-4 until the first whistle after the three-minute mark, then teams play 3-on-3.
Four UMD alumni still playing for titles
Back in April, five former Bulldogs were in the hunt for the NHL’s Stanley Cup, five were in pursuit of the AHL’s Calder Cup and two were going after the ECHL’s Kelly Cup.
Now all that remains are a pair of Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL, a South Carolina Stingray in the ECHL and one former Bulldog chasing gold in Europe for Team USA.
Right wing J.T. Brown (2010-12), defenseman Jason Garrison (2005-08) and the Lightning take on the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals Saturday in New York.
Brown has appeared in 11 of Tampa’s 13 playoff games. He scored a goal in Game 2 of the second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Garrison has a goal and two assists in 10 playoff games.
In addition to Garrison and Brown, the Bulldogs are represented by two alumni in the front office of conference finalists. Tom Kurvers (1980-84) is Tampa’s senior advisor to the general manager and Norm Maciver is the Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM. Chicago plays the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Finals beginning Sunday.
In the minor leagues, Washington Capitals 2010 fifth-round draft pick Caleb Herbert (2011-14) is the last Bulldog standing. He and the South Carolina Stingrays opened up the ECHL Kelly Cup Western Conference Finals on Friday night against the Toledo Walleye (Detroit Red Wings affiliate).
Herbert has eight assists so far in 13 ECHL playoff games.
Internationally, Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes is playing for Team USA in the IIHF Men’s World Championship tournament in the Czech Republic. Faulk has three assists in eight games going into Saturday's 12:15 p.m. semifinal against Russia.
Two UMD recruits in pursuit of Royal Bank Cup
UMD verbal commitments Jarod Hilderman and Hunter Miska have reached the semifinals of Canada’s National Junior A tournament - the Royal Bank Cup - after winning the BCHL title and Western Canada Cup with the Penticton Vees. They face the Carleton Place Canadians Saturday in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Miska, a 19-year-old goalie from North Branch, Minn., is slated to join the Bulldogs for the 2016-17 season. He has backstopped the Vees this year to a 3-1-0 preliminary-round record in the Royal Bank Cup with a 2.00 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. In the Western Canada Cup, Miska led the Vees to a 4-1-0 mark with a 1.99 GAA and .932 save percentage. He went 15-6-0 in the BCHL playoffs with a 2.24 GAA and .925 save percentage, plus three assists.
Hilderman, an 18-year-old defenseman from Kamsack, Saskatchewan, also is projected to join UMD for 2016-17. En route to the BCHL title, Hilderman had a goal and six assists in 22 games. He was held scoreless in the Vees’ five-game Western Canada Cup victory and is scoreless through four games of the Royal Bank Cup.
The Western Canada Cup is the Junior A tournament championship featuring the champions of the British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba junior hockey leagues. The Royal Bank Cup features the Eastern, Central and Western champions, plus the Western runner-up and a host team.