A new wrinkle has been added by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to prevent high school hockey games from ending in a tie.
The WIAA’s board of control recently approved a measure that would continue with use of the current eight-minute sudden death overtime period for hockey games that are tied after regulation; however, if the game remains tied after the eight-minute period, five more minutes of overtime will be added with the teams playing three skaters a side.
If there is no scoring after both overtime periods, then the game will be recorded as a tie.
This rule would begin in the 2020-21 hockey season.
The idea of reducing the number of skaters in the five-minute overtime is to create more room on the ice that could lead to more scoring chances.
During the WIAA postseason hockey tournaments, an eight-minute overtime will be added if games are tied. If the score remains tied, the ice will be resurfaced and the team will play a 17-minute sudden-death overtime period.
If a winner is still not determined, a five-minute, four-on-four sudden death period will be played, and if needed, the teams will play another five-minute overtime at three-on-three.
If there is still no winner, the ice surface will be cleaned and the teams will play a 17-minute three-on-three sudden death overtime period.
Several years ago, the National Hockey League started playing five-minute three-on-three overtime periods to reduce the number of games ending in a shootout, in which individual skaters attempt to get the puck past the goalie in a best-of-three duel.
Monona Grove High School boys hockey coach Dave Kinsler said he is a traditionalist and not in favor of the new overtime rule.
“The WIAA allowed too many, in my opinion, non-hockey people to have input into the question,” he said. “It will impact the most important games, thus having a negative impact in the end, although without my crystal ball, only time will tell if it was good move overall. My hindsight says it will be bad for the game.”
Both McFarland and Monona Grove played two games that ended in a tie in 2019-20, none in Badger South Conference action.
During the 2020 WIAA boys hockey tournament, two games required overtime to determine a winner, both involving Verona.
The Wildcats needed to two overtimes to beat Chippewa Falls 1-0 in the semifinal game and then used a goal in the first overtime to win the state title over Notre Dame 2-1
There were no overtimes in the girls games.