Frozen Four overtime rules 2024, explained: How OT format works in NCAA college hockey

The state of hockey is where the 2023-24 NCAA men’s ice hockey season concludes, as the Frozen Four is set for this weekend. 

Four programs — Michigan, Boston College, Boston University, and Denver — remain alive in the hunt to be named national champions. Soon, a winner will be crowned. 

Two semifinals and the championship game are on deck in St. Paul this weekend, and it’s expected to be must-watch entertainment. The four teams still playing have been at the top of the rankings all season long, so don’t be surprised if these contests require more than the normal 60 minutes. 

In the regional portion of the tournament, four games required overtime, including one game each for the Pioneers and the Eagles. Denver fought off UMass’ upset attempt in the opening round of the regionals, winning 2-1 in double overtime. Boston College punched its ticket to the Frozen Four with a 5-4 overtime win over Quinnipiac in its regional final. 

Last year, the 2023 national championship was decided in overtime. Quinnipiac’s Jacob Quillan was the hero in Tampa, as his goal in the opening seconds of overtime gave Rand Pecknold and the Bobcats their first national title in program history. 

The Sporting News has fans covered on the overtime rules at the 2024 Frozen Four. 

MORE: Frozen Four 2024 schedule, bracket, results

Frozen Four 2024 overtime rules

The national semifinals and championship games both fall under the same category for overtime rules. The full section of the NCAA rulebook on overtime can be found here.

They are as follows:

  • If the game is tied after regulation, the teams will play another full 20-minute period of overtime at 5-on-5 hockey
  • It’s sudden-death style, so the first team to score wins the game
  • If no one scores in the first OT period, the game continues into a second, and a third, and so on and so forth until a team scores to win it

NCAA hockey overtime rules for regular season

The overtime rules for the Frozen Four are different than in the regular season.

In the NCAA, hockey games may end in ties, or go to shootout depending on the conference. 

Here are the overtime rules in the regular season for college hockey:

  • Teams play a five-minute overtime period of 3-on-3 hockey
  • The OT period is played sudden-death style, so the first team to score wins
  • After the five minutes, if no one has scored, then the game either ends in a tie or goes to a shootout, depending on the teams involved
    • All non-conference games end in a tie after the five-minute OT
    • In conference play, certain conferences have a shootout to determine the winner of the contest 
    • Other conferences have the game end in a tie but use the shootout to which team gets an additional point in the standings
  • If a shootout occurs, each team selects three shooters to go for the three rounds of the shootout. Each team shoots once per round
  • The team with the most goals scored after the three rounds wins the game
  • If the teams score the same amount of goals in the three rounds, then it goes round by round until one team scores and the other does not

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