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The Student Section: Regular Season Episode #8

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Last night, I was watching the Michigan State and Minnesota hockey game on television. After 65 minutes of hockey, with the score tied 2-2, the game went to a shootout. The Spartans would win 1-0 in an anticlimactic shootout.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Good Afternoon Student Section. Today, I am going to discuss the shootout. Recently, I wrote about this subject at another site.

Last night, I was watching the Michigan State and Minnesota hockey game on television. After 65 minutes of hockey, with the score tied 2-2, the game went to a shootout. The Spartans would win 1-0 in an anticlimactic shootout.

For those keeping track at home, it appears the shootout is the only way that the Spartans have been able to beat the Gophers recently.

Although the game officially counts as a tie, the Spartans (5-9-1, 1-2-1 Big Ten) won the shootout 2-1 to earn an extra point in the Big Ten standings. In six meetings between the Gophers and Spartans since the Big Ten hockey league debuted last season, Michigan State has three shootout wins. (Star Tribune)

My guess is that Gopher fans won't be all that fussed about this shootout loss, their team is ranked ninth in the Pairwise Rankings, that's all that really matters at this point.

I you were to take a look back to last season, you would’ve noticed the Gophers weren’t very good in the shootout. Last season, the Gophers went 0-3 in the shootout. Over the course of two seasons, the Gophers are now 0-4 in the shootout.

To me, this is actually a head scratcher based on who the Gophers have in their lineup.

When college hockey realigned two season ago, the NCHC and the Big Ten Hockey Conference decided to use the shootout to break ties. After a year and change, the NCHC is using the shootout to settle conference games half as much as the B1G.

Because the Big Ten just started their 2014-15 conference play, their body of work for the season isn’t that big. Including last year’s numbers, the B1G has had 19 shootouts in 138 conference games (13.7%).

This season, the frequency of the shootout in the B1G is down. Through 18 games, there has been a single shootout (5.5%).

Shootouts infrequently used to break ties in NCHC play

While the NCHC uses the shootout to break ties for league points, there haven’t been a lot of games decided by the shootout.

Through 254 games, there was only 19 games decided by a shootout. That means through a season and a quarter of league play, only 7.4 percent of the games have gone to a shootout.

To this point, it would appear that fans that hate the shootout don’t have that much to be upset about because there’s not a lot of shootouts taking place in NCHC play.

Breaking it down further, this season through 62 NCHC games, there has been only two shootouts, meaning only 3.2 percent of the NCHC league games have gone to a shootout.

Colorado College (1-4, .200) and St. Cloud State (0-4 .000) have played in the most shootouts and have had the least success in the shootout.

Over the course of two seasons, Western Michigan University (3-0, 1.00), Minnesota Duluth (2-0, 1.00) and Miami (1-0, 1.00) are unbeaten in the shootout.

Looking at the Big Ten’s shootout records, Michigan (1-1, .500), Michigan State (5-2, .714), Minnesota (0-4, .000), Ohio State (4-1, .800), Penn State (0-1, .000), Wisconsin (0-1, .000).