Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron would like to see fewer ties in college hockey.
The Falcons have already played five ties in just 17 games this season, including four ties in 12 Western Collegiate Hockey Association games.
BG has played seven overtime games this season, going 2-0-5 in those contests. The Falcons played two 2-2 ties last weekend against Minnesota State.
“I don’t like ties,” Bergeron said. “I wish we could find a way to settle them.”
Twelve of the WCHA’s 60 league games have ended in ties. BG, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan each have four ties, while Lake Superior has three, and Ferris State, Bemidji State, Alabama-Huntsville and Alaska (Fairbanks) each have two.
Alaska-Anchorage has played just one tie game in league play. Michigan Tech still is looking for its first tie.
Part of the reason for the ties is a lack of scoring. Those 60 WCHA league games have averaged just 4.78 goals. Another explanation is the league is more balanced this season with every team having a goal differential between plus 10 and minus 12.
There also have been a number of ties elsewhere in games overall.
In the Big Ten Conference, Wisconsin has five, and Michigan and Penn State each have three.
In Hockey East, six of the league’s 12 teams have four ties and three more teams each have three.
And in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, four of the 12 teams have three ties, and five others have two ties. Of those nine teams, four are Ivy League schools which started their seasons three weeks later than every one else in the country.
“Our league should not be okay with ties. I’d like them to be settled,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron’s solution is to copy what the National Hockey League does to break ties. The league uses a wildly popular 3 on 3 overtime for five minutes if regulation ends in a tie, followed by a shootout if the game is tied after OT.
The 3 on 3 format creates many good scoring chances. The shootout also is popular with fans.
“I believe all of our guys want to play in the National Hockey League and are fans of the National Hockey League,” Bergeron said. “Why wouldn’t college hockey do what the National Hockey League does?”
Bergeron said some of the anti-shootout sentiment stems from college players being amateurs and shouldn’t be subject to undeserved pressure.
“I just don’t understand,” Bergeron said. “I Just don’t see why we wouldn’t want to be just like the league where all of our players want to play. Whether they do or don’t (play in the NHL), that’s what they’re watching on TV.”
NHL teams earn two points for all wins, teams losing in OT or a shootout earn one point, and a regulation loss is worth no points.
In the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association, teams received three points for a regulation or OT win, two points for a shootout win, and no points for a regulation or OT loss.
College coaches don’t agree on whether the sport should use a three- or two-point format for each game.
The Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference are the only leagues of the six NCAA Division I leagues using a shootout. Games decided in a shootout are counted as ties in the selection criteria for the NCAA playoffs.
The Big Ten and NCHC both use the CCHA’s three-point system.
Some coaches argue a regulation or OT win should be worth more than a shootout victory because it is won in traditional fashion with a hockey play. Those coaches add a shootout win is nothing more than a skills competition.
“We should be doing the same thing. I don’t think every league should be doing their own thing,” Bergeron said. “Why wouldn’t we be doing the same thing across all leagues and then we wouldn’t have to worry about having (three-point games).
“We do what the NHL does. If you lose a game 3 on 3 on OT, then you lose the game 3 on 3 in OT. If you lose the game in a shootout, then you lose the game in a shootout. You still get a point after the 60 (minutes).”
Bergeron also would like to go the NHL format to break ties to help college coaches recruit against Canadian major junior leagues. The major juniors use the NHL format to break ties.
Bergeron hopes the issue of breaking ties will be revisited at the national coaches convention in the spring.
“What major junior says is this is your best way to the NHL. Our game looks just like the NHL’s game,” Bergeron said. “We know the major junior is an influence and we’re losing players to them all of the time. Why wouldn’t we have the same fight? We want our game to look like the NHL’s game.”