There are many different opinions about the shootout in hockey. Some fans love the individual skills competition at the end of tie games that are used to break a tie. Others think the shootout is a travesty and should be removed from all brands of hockey, never to be seen again. Relegated to the dustbin of history. While sitting in the press box on Friday night, the conversation turned to the impending shootout. Why are we doing this? What’s the purpose of this meaningless shootout?
I remarked, “I’ve never seen anyone leave an arena before a shootout.”
Whether you like the shootout or want it abolished from all forms of hockey, they’re here to stay for at least the short term. Many sports fans prefer victories to ties. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the other Division I hockey leagues use the shootout to break ties and award points for conference play.
How Did We Get There?
The Fighting Hawks trailed 4-2 after two periods. In the third period, UND would push back and would take a brief 5-4 when they scored two goals 34 seconds apart. As UND made its comeback in the third the building was electric and had the feel of a playoff game. The Bobcats would score the game-tying goal at the 10:25 mark of the third period.
The Hawks and the Bobcats would play an exciting 60-minute regulation game that ended in a 5-5 tie. We moved on to a five-minute three-on-three overtime session. The game would officially end in a tie. The two teams would continue on in a three-round shootout. The building was electric and many in the arena were standing. I didn’t see anyone leaving for the exits.
Quinnipiac and North Dakota tie 5-5. Wild game. Fake shootout coming up. These are a waste of time.
— Quinnipiac Hockey Blog (@QHockeyBlog) October 15, 2022
Why Bother With the Shootout?
In non-conference play, the shootout can showcase the individual talents of the players involved. The fans in Grand Forks won’t see the Bobcats again unless UND meets them in the NCAA playoffs. There’s also value in watching the hometown players score a shootout goal on an All-NCAA goaltender.
No matter what your opinion of the shootout is, on Friday night, the players appeared to enjoy themselves.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Jackson Blake said. “I think it’s a blast. I mean, any chance you get to go in a shoot, it’s awesome. We see that as a win. Especially that comeback. I mean, boys are pumped right now.”
“I think it’s rewarding if you put it in the net, and if you don’t, it doesn’t look good,” Riese Gaber said. “I think having the coaches want to put you out there in that situation is important and you got to be prepared. So yeah, it’s definitely an exciting time.”
This season’s freshman class has a lot of skill, but a couple of the players have stood out above the rest, Blake and Owen McLaughlin.
“I try and watch him every day and learn things from him,” Gaber said. “Yeah, the way he sees the ice. Similarly, with O-Mac (McLaughlin), I mean, all four of our freshmen are unreal, but those two, the way they carry the puck and see the ice. I wish I could do it like that.”
Listen to Blake and Riese Gaber talk to the media following the game. There was excitement around the locker room.
— North Dakota MHockey (@UNDmhockey) October 15, 2022