By Jessi Pierce
Julie "the Cat" Gaffney said it best: "I hate ties, it's like kissing your brother."
Of course shootouts were her thing because of this beauty of a save during the Ducks' Team USA debut.
The NCAA began allowing shootouts in 2008. The now defunct Central College Hockey Association, former home to Big Ten's Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, was the only conference to really adapt them into play.
Following this year's realignment, the Big Ten and National Collegiate Hockey Conference decided to use shootouts to establish winners for conference games. They can also be used to decide non-conference games if both teams agree on it.
Up to this point, five shootouts have been used in games for Big Ten teams.
Dec. 6: Michigan State vs. Minnesota -- Michigan State shootout win, 2-2
Dec. 11: Michigan vs. Ferris State -- Michigan shootout win, 2-2
Dec. 27: Michigan State vs. Michigan Tech -- Michigan State shootout loss, 2-2
Jan. 11: Michigan State vs. Ohio State -- Michigan State shootout win, 1-1
Jan. 25: Minnesota vs. University of Minnesota-Duluth -- Minnesota shootout win, 5-4
For fans of the former WCHA, shootouts bring a totally new element to the game. For players it saves their legs on Friday nights when they have the second game of the series to play the next evening. So we took a look at the pros and cons of having a shootout.
The Shootout Winner
On March 13, 2010, Quinnipiac and Union College battled through five overtimes and six hours of hockey before a winner was declared. The 3-2 Union win was the longest hockey game in college history, edging the previous record held by Union and Yale in a 150 minute game set in 2006.
There is a time and place for shootouts.
There's something to be said about not ending a game with a tie, but instead with a definitive winner -- even if it comes down to being a skills competition.
One thing that comes under fire with shootouts is how it rolls out in points and affects standings. Big Ten still upholds any extra periods of play as an official tie, but in order to improve standings, shootout wins earn more points. Teams that head into a shootout -- not matter the amount of rounds -- have an extra point up for grabs with two for the winner, one for the loser. Teams that win in overtime get three and none for the loser.
This is positively better than the NHL rules in which a tie automatically results in one point for both teams.
Aside from a point getter, there are plenty of fans, most of whom may be newer to hockey, who really enjoy a good shootout competition. And hey, admit it, there are some beauty goals that can be scored via shootout.
The Shootout Loser
Minnesota won this past weekend's tournament championship in a shootout. A game any hockey fan would have been thrilled to watch into several overtimes, instead the Gophers hoisted the inaugural North Star College Cup with two quick shots and two well-timed saves.
It provided a quick resolve to a tie but is that the way a tournament-winner should be decided?
Very few fans who responded had a problem with shootouts in regular season competition, but when it came to tourny time, most agreed that 1-on-1 shots are never the way to crown a winner.
Tournaments have a large appeal in themselves. Conference or not, being able to claim that No. 1 title, even if for just that weekend is something you work hard for, and would work for late into the night.
I'm old-fashioned and any extra period of free hockey I can squeeze out in a game are just fine by me. But I do understand that shootouts are becoming a part of the game we know today.
So what do you guys think? Are you coming around to the shootout idea or would you rather end the game in a one-overtime tie? Send us your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us at @B1GIceHockey.