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Minnesota coach Bob Motzko backs the NCHC's overtime proposal

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With his team needing one win to clinch home ice and two wins (plus help from Wisconsin) to win the Big Ten title this weekend, Minnesota Gophers coach Bob Motzko said his team is focused only on the games ahead of them, and not scoreboard watching. John Autey / The Rink Live
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The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has proposed a new overtime format for college hockey.

The league is pushing for college hockey to disband the five-minute, five-on-five overtime and go directly into a five-minute, three-on-three for all games , including nonconference.

Under the NCHC's proposal, the value in the RPI and Pairwise would not be the same for a regulation win and an overtime win. The most talked-about model is 55 percent to the three-on-three winner and 45 percent to the loser.

Consider the Big Ten on board, Minnesota coach Bob Motzko said Monday.

"We're in agreement with the NCHC," said Motzko, who just completed his second year with the Gophers after spending 13 at St. Cloud State. "Personally, most of us were against having the Pairwise count in the three-on-three, but somewhere out East, it was a big thing. So, 55-45, is that what they said? OK, if that's what it takes, you've got our vote. But let's get on the same page. If that's what it takes, we're in favor, because we should all be doing the same thing.

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"What we had all been doing in all my years in the NCHC, we liked it, but it was long if it went the five minutes, then another five and then the shootout. I did sense that. Even though we were attempting to do something, I thought there was a better path forward. I do like the 60 minutes (then three-on-three). It's better for TV. It's better for fans. We watch it in the NHL.

While Motzko said he would prefer there's no value to the three-on-three overtime, he's fine with the current proposal.

"I would prefer we shut it down in the Pairwise, but the 55-45, I don't think that's going to keep anybody out of the tournament," said Motzko, who was named the Big Ten's coach of the year Monday. "If that's what it takes, let's do it. Shorten the game up."

Motzko said the final decision on overtime procedure has to go beyond the thoughts of the coaches.

"I know the fans and players love three-on-three," Motzko said. "Coaches aren't really in love with it, but who cares about the coaches? Let's give the fans something they like, and I know the players like it, especially the players that play."

The NCHC sent out a survey to college hockey conferences and asked it to be shared with players. While not every league participated, it got more than 500 responses back. Roughly 97 percent supported using the three-on-three.

The NCAA Rules Committee is expected to meet in June and make a decision on overtime. If it votes to go ahead with the NCHC's proposal, it will be up to the Championship Committee to set the RPI values for three-on-three wins and losses.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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