Rule needs revamping in hockey

Posted Jan. 12, 2010, at 10:40 p.m.

When Merrimack College freshman center Stephane Da Costa had a goal disallowed in the third period of Saturday night’s game against the University of Maine, I thought Maine caught a huge break.

That would have given the Warriors a 3-2 lead with 13:32 remaining in regulation.

Da Costa had sprinted to the net only to have Maine goalie Scott Darling pokecheck the puck away toward Da Costa. The puck apparently hit Da Costa’s skate and deflected into the net.

After a long video review, referees Jeff Bunyon and Dave Hanson waved off the goal because Da Costa had kicked it in.

Da Costa said he lost sight of the puck after Darling poke-checked it. Darling said Da Costa kicked it in like it was a soccer ball.

The referees actually made the right call.

It’s the rule that’s faulty.

According to the rule, Rule 6-18-a and 6-18-c, ‘A goal shall not be allowed if the puck has been kicked or directed into the goal off an attacking player’s skate that is moving toward the goal line. When in doubt, the goal shall be disallowed.’ Then it goes on to say, ‘A goal shall be allowed if a puck deflects off an attacking player who is in the act of stopping, provided neither skate is used to direct the puck into the net.’

So it doesn’t matter if he was or wasn’t purposely directing the puck toward the net.

He was skating toward the goal line and it apparently did go off his skate even though he never saw it.

And the clincher is the line ‘when in doubt, the goal shall be disallowed.’

I preferred it when the only thing you weren’t allowed to do was intentionally kick the puck into the net.

You were actually allowed to direct the puck into the net with your skate as long as you didn’t use a kicking motion.

Allowing someone to swing a razor-sharp skate at a puck in a crowded goalmouth is dangerous.

But you should be allowed to angle your skate to direct a puck into it.

The more goals, the merrier.

The current adjustment to this rule was made in 2008 to simplify it for the referees.

The Ice Hockey Rules Committee makes changes every two years.

Hopefully, when they convene next spring, they will look at changing the overtime policy.

It is currently a five-minute, sudden-death overtime. Period.

The CCHA followed the NHL’s lead and implemented a three-player shootout after the five-minute overtime last year.

The NHL overtime is four-on-four while the CCHA overtime follows college rules and is five-on-five (excluding the goalie).

The CCHA rewarded a second point in the league standings to the winner in OT or in a shootout last year but, this season, they’ve bumped it up to three points if a team wins in regulation or overtime. If it goes to a shootout, the winnerreceives just two points and the shootout loser gets one point. If you lose in regulation or OT, you don’t get any points.

However, a game that is tied after the OT is considered a tie in the eyes of the NCAA.

Taking one player off the ice for the OT, like the NHL does, is a good idea.

How about four-on-four, sudden-death, for eight minutes instead of five minutes without a shootout? If the game is tied after eight minutes, it goes in the books as a tie.

I don’t think there would be many ties.

There would be plenty of open ice and scoring opportunities.

Shootouts and penalty kicks in soccer aren’t my cup of tea.

Whatever the NCAA decides, I’d like to see it implemented across the board.

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