ASU hockey 'excited' for new NCAA overtime rules in upcoming season

The Sun Devils look to capitalize on new 3-on-3 overtime rules

The general opinion among ASU hockey players and coaches regarding ending games in a tie can be summed up by the one senior forward James Sanchez offered.

"Personally, I think it is just dumb," Sanchez said.

Fortunately for them, the NCAA Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Rules Committee passed rule changes in July that would alter the current 5-on-5 overtime format, one that resulted in a tie if no deciding goal is scored in the five-minute overtime period. 

The change institutes a five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period. If the game is a conference or tournament matchup, a three-person shootout can be used in the event neither team scores in overtime. In non-conference games that reach overtime, a tie would result if neither team scores in the extra allotted period.

ASU associate head coach Mike Field believes the rule is another positive step in the direction of helping NCAA hockey serve another purpose: being one of the NHL's most important player development organizations.

"In my personal opinion, whatever the NHL does, I think we should mimic it," Field said. "If we are going to be a developmental league for the NHL, then let's prepare our guys by playing by the same rules the NHL does."

Field believes the change will be exciting for players, coaches and fans alike.

"It’s exciting for fans," Field said. "If you’re in our business, you’re in the entertainment business, so if the fans like it, I think it’s a great way to end a game and having everyone on the same page is important as well."

ASU tied on three separate occasions during the 2019-20 season. While a tie is better than a loss on their record, Sanchez believes it is much more ideal for there to be a clear-cut victor after each game.

"We are battling for an hour straight and there’s got to be a winner," Sanchez said. "We’re not just going to walk away and call it a tie." 

Sanchez, former Sun Devils Joshua Maniscalco and Brinson Pasichnuk, senior forward Johnny Walker, and several other key offensive players pushed the team to sixth in the NCAA in scoring by the end of the 2019-2020 season. 

Three of those 121 goals — two from Maniscalco and another from then-captain Tyler Busch — were scored in overtime.   

With a 3-on-3 format this season, Sanchez anticipates that overtime would significantly benefit ASU's high-octane offense this season, should they find themselves having to play in the period.

“I think our team will do well at 3-on-3," Sanchez said. "I think there’s a bunch of different weapons on our team, and I think it would really benefit (us) because we have speed, we have skill."

Sanchez and Walker were ASU's top two point-scorers last season, respectively. As two of the most offensively productive and experienced players returning to the program, they might have the chance to provide more firepower in overtime periods this season.

Walker, who finished last season with 38 points through 36 games, believes 3-on-3 provides teams a better chance to win and is more enjoyable to play and watch than what 5-on-5 overtime provides.

"I think it’s awesome," Walker said. "I like the rule a lot. I think it gives opportunity for a lot of offense and a lot of goals to be (scored) ... there’s so much ice, so much room and it gives you so many possibilities. It should be exciting."

Though ASU would prefer to not have to go to overtime to settle the score, they are excited for what the implementation of a 3-on-3 overtime format could bring for next season.

"We want to win in 60 minutes," Walker said. "We’re obviously more focused on that. But, at the same time, I think that now knowing that there won’t be ties, you’re going to win or you’re going to lose, and it’ll make us step up and play even better.” 

Reach the reporter at and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

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