The ECHL is changing its overtime and shootout rules to mirror those used in the National Hockey League, according to a report from WPTA’s Dean Pantazi.
Next year, overtimes in ECHL games will be played 3-on-3, mirroring a rule change also being made at the NHL level. Last year, the AHL experimented with a hybrid overtime that used both 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 elements, and the USHL also experimented with 3-on-3 overtime in its preseason two years ago. The Southern Professional Hockey League also uses 3-on-3 OT. With fewer skaters, the 3-on-3 overtime dramatically reduced the number of shootouts. If there is a penalty in overtime, the team receiving the power play will gain an extra skater and play 4-on-3.
Another major change will be to the shootout procedure. If an ECHL game remains tied after overtime, a three-round shootout will be used in regular-season games, with the team scoring the most goals after three rounds being the winner, with extra shooters being used after that until a winner is determined. The ECHL had used a five-round shootout from its inception in 1987-88 through the 2014-15 season. The NHL began using a three-round shootout when it implemented the feature in 2005, and most other hockey leagues in the U.S. and internationally have adjusted their shootout procedure to follow the NHL.
As usual, this will not apply in the playoffs, which will play 20-minute sudden-death overtime periods after a tied game until someone scores a goal.