After months of planning for a safe return-to-play, the NCHA will drop the puck on a revised league schedule this weekend.
The restart will feature new divisions in both the men’s and women’s conferences as well as a new overtime/shootout structure and points system that will be used to determine teams and seeds for a planned 2020-21 NCHA postseason.
Men’s and women’s teams will play eight conference games against division opponents in the regular season, with the composite schedule starting this weekend and ending March 7. Teams are not restricted from playing additional nonconference games against other NCHA teams.
Overtime will look different in the coming weeks, with the league adopting the 3-on-3 format for the five-minute extra session. If teams remain tied after the overtime, a three-player shootout will be conducted. If a winner is not determined after three rounds, the teams will continue the shootout, one round at a time, until a winner is determined.
The new points system will be as follows:
Regulation win – 3 pts
Regulation loss – 0 pts
Overtime/shootout win – 2 pts
Overtime/shootout loss – 1 pt
League playoffs are planned, but the format will be announced at a later date. The winner of the women’s Slaats Cup playoffs and men’s Harris Cup playoffs will earn the NCHA’s automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.
* St. Norbert (men and women) and Finlandia (women) will not participate in the abbreviated season due to decisions by their institutions.
The first men’s conference game of the new season will be Saturday when MSOE travels to Angola to take on Trine, while the first women’s conference game is slated for February 5 when Concordia-Wisconsin takes on Marian.