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Addition Of 3-On-3 Overtime In Big Ten Hockey Should Bode Well For Penn State

The Big Ten hockey conference announced Thursday that 3-on-3 overtime will be implemented in conference play for the 2018-19 season.

Big Ten games tied after three periods will still require a five-minute period of 5-on-5 hockey. If that period ends without a goal, the teams will now play five minutes of 3-on-3 instead of going straight to a shootout.

The conference announced a new points system to go along with the updated overtime format: Teams that find a winner in the 5-on-5 overtime period will be awarded with all three points, while both teams will earn a point and the winning team will earn a second point if the game ends during the 3-on-3 period or a shootout.

Implementing 3-on-3 overtime into Big Ten hockey may end up being one of the smartest moves the conference will ever make. The NHL implemented the concept in the 2015-16 regular season in an effort to reduce the amount of games ending in shootouts. It previously changed to 4-on-4 overtime in 1999 to try and cut down on ties, but ties were removed in favor of shootouts prior to the 2005-06 season.

3-on-3 has been a resounding success at the NHL level, adding excitement and borderline chaos to the end of games. Take a look at some examples of the spectacle in action:

This sequence that ends with a Detroit victory over Nashville is one of the most exciting 3-on-3 periods since the concept was implemented.
Team North America — a team of American and Canadian players ages 23 and younger — beat Sweden’s national team in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in 3-on-3 overtime.
Sidney Crosby is one of 11 players who have scored at least six game-winners since 3-on-3 was first implemented in 2015.

As you can see, the amount of open ice combined with teams rolling out their top players creates one of the most thrilling scenes in sports. The back-and-forth, nonstop action seen in 3-on-3 overtime should suit Penn State if its games extend beyond 65 minutes.

One reason Guy Gadowsky’s program could thrive with the concept is the attack-first nature of 3-on-3 overtime. Gadowsky has always emphasized offense and having a shoot-first mentality, so he’s recruited players with plenty of skill.

Wingers Denis Smirnov, Liam Folkes, and Brandon Biro are all excellent skaters — a must-have asset in 3-on-3 — while Chase Berger, Nate Sucese, and Evan Barratt are strong options at center who can move the puck quickly and score goals if needed. The forward group may have to dial back its shoot-first mentality a bit in 3-on-3; missing the net could result in a quick counter-attack and give the opposition a breakaway or odd-man rush.

Versatility is also¬†important in 3-on-3 overtime, and Penn State has plenty of multi-dimensional players who could see big roles in the sequence. Alex Limoges was recruited as a center, but spent most of last season on the wing because of the team’s depth down the middle. Freshman Aarne Talvitie also spent most of his junior career at center, but may need to play wing to get into the Nittany Lions’ lineup this season.

Penn State also has plenty of capable puck-moving defensemen who can make long stretch passes to set up big scoring chances in 3-on-3 situations. Cole Hults and Kevin Kerr are probably the team’s two best defensemen in this regard, but both are also excellent skaters who can get back on defense quickly if needed.

Defensemen are obviously important in 3-on-3, but teams don’t necessarily always deploy two blueliners in the situation. Expect the Nittany Lions to roll out two forwards and just one blueliner. The team is far deeper up front than it is on defense, so going with two forwards instead of two defensemen may be necessary for the Nittany Lions.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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