PIHL to institute 3-on-3 overtime, shootout to avoid ties
Say goodbye to ties in the PIHL.
Starting this regular season, both teams will be rewarded when games require overtime.
The league adopted a change to its overtime rules at the varsity level only. Instead of a five-on-five sudden-death format in a five-minute overtime period, tied teams will square off in a three-on-three format for the first three minutes of overtime. If a game is deadlocked after that, the teams will engage in a shootout until a winner is decided.
Both teams reaching overtime receive a point, and the winning team notches an extra point in the standings, similar to the NHL.
“It's more exciting,” PIHL commissioner Craig Barnett said. “I think our kids want to emulate what the NHL is using. It gives the coaches something more to work with.”
The shootout begins with three shooters from both teams. If no winner is determined, it will switch to a one-person sudden-death round until a winner is determined. All skaters must attempt a shot first before they can attempt another penalty shot, also similar to the NHL.
“We experimented with it during our Class AAA all-star game and had a winner after the three-on-three shootout,” Barnett said. “We'll be meeting with all game personnel and officials and making sure everybody is ready to go and prepared in case we get some long, dragged-out shootouts.
“I think it'll be really good for the kids playing in the three-on-three format. Hopefully, we'll get a winner in those three minutes most of the time.”
Latrobe coach Josh Werner welcomes the change.
“With the team we have at Latrobe, we're excited about it,” he said. “Going three-on-three, there's a lot of ice to skate around. I think it'll work in our favor. It's something exciting for the athletes. I think it'll be fun to watch and coach.”
Kiski Area's Ray Suhadolnik agrees.
“It's following in the NHL's footsteps, and I think it makes games exciting. I think having an endgame to overtime makes it exciting. It'll showcase a lot of talent out there, that's for sure,” he said. “Anytime we're in practice, the guys just want to play three-on-three with open ice to showcase their talents. I think it'll go over well in the locker room. It'll be a little stressful for coaches, but I think it's a good thing. Nobody likes a tie.”
There were 34 ties recorded in the PIHL last season in Class AAA (11), AA (6), A (9) and Division 2 (8).
“Getting another point is a good benefit of it. I think the players will enjoy it. At least you'll have a winner of each game,” Werner said. “I am excited for it and excited for our first try at it. We'll see how it goes.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.