MIAC announces rule changes to both men’s and women’s conferences

The MIAC has announced several changes that will take effect starting with the 2013-14 season in both its men’s and women’s ranks.

The MIAC men will be the first conference in NCAA Division III to adopt the shootout for conference games. In addition, the MIAC men’s standings will change to a three-point system, with three points awarded for a regulation win, two for an overtime or shootout win, one for an overtime or shootout loss and zero points for a regulation loss.

“The addition of the shootout and the modified points system add to the anticipation of the 2013-14 MIAC men’s hockey season,” said MIAC executive director Dan McKane in a news release. “The shootout will be an exciting feature for our student-athletes and fans and it will give all the hard-fought overtime games a thrilling conclusion. Also, it will give our teams a better chance to determine the order of the standings in competition, rather than tiebreakers.”

The shootout will follow NCAA protocol with each team selecting three players to take the shots. If there is still a tie following three attempts for each team, one player from each team will shoot until a winner is decided.

On the women’s side, the MIAC is moving to a four-official system, mirroring a change the MIAC men made a year ago.

The women’s coaches also elected to adjust the schedule of the MIAC women’s playoffs to mirror the men’s format. Instead of playing all three rounds in a five-day stretch, the women will now have the lone quarterfinal game between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds on the Friday following the regular season, with the two semifinal games to follow on that Saturday. The championship will remain on the following Saturday.

“Adding a fourth official to women’s hockey in the MIAC is a positive change that will help keep our student-athletes safe on the ice and will allow our officials to maximize their potential as well,” McKane added. “The women’s change in playoff format will also be a benefit to the conference, with an exciting weekend of quarterfinal and semifinal play and the two finalists having additional time to prepare and recuperate for the postseason championship game.”

The final change has Nov. 1 as the official start date for men’s and women’s D-III games. If Nov. 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, teams may begin competing that Friday.