How Long Is College Hockey Game? Find Out the Duration and Game Rules

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College hockey is a fast and thrilling sport that showcases the athleticism of young, skilled players. It’s no wonder why it has gained a following of fans and supporters over the years.

If you’re new to college hockey, you might be wondering how long a game lasts. After all, knowing the duration of the game can help you tune in at exactly the right time or plan your schedule around it better. In this article, we’ll answer your burning question: How Long Is College Hockey Game?

“Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other and pulling in the same direction to be successful.” – Wayne Gretzky

In addition to discussing the length of a game, we’ll also cover some basic game rules that will help you understand the flow of play. We’ll talk about what happens during power plays, periods, and overtime. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect when watching a college hockey match.

So join us as we explore one of the most exciting and engaging collegiate sports out there!

Game Duration

In college hockey, games typically last around two and a half hours. However, the game duration can vary based on factors such as whether or not there is overtime or a shootout.

Regulation Time

The regulation time for a college hockey game consists of three 20-minute periods with two intermissions between them. During these intermissions, teams have time to rest, discuss strategy, and make any necessary changes to their lineup or tactics.

It’s important to note that in college hockey, players are allowed to check each other, which means they can use their bodies to separate an opponent from the puck. This physicality often leads to more stoppages in play due to penalties, injuries, or getting the puck out of bounds.

During regulation time, if both teams are tied at the end of the third period, the game proceeds into sudden-death overtime. The first team to score during this extra period wins the game.

Halftime Break

After the second period, there is a brief halftime break lasting about 15 minutes. During this time, players leave the ice, coaches give pep talks and make adjustments, and the Zamboni resurfaces the ice rink. It’s also a chance for fans to refuel on concessions and socialize with fellow supporters.

This break is crucial for the players’ endurance because college hockey requires immense physical strength and stamina. Without rest, players would likely become exhausted and potentially prone to injury, leading to poor performance and increased risk of mistakes.

“There is no greater feeling than coming off the bench, putting down your water bottle, stepping onto the ice with your teammates when the band cues up the fight song, taking one look at your opponents who you know are going to give everything they can for 60 minutes, and the adrenaline starts flowing.” -John Buccigross

College hockey games are fast-paced, intense, and exciting. They offer a unique blend of athleticism, skill, and strategy that keeps fans on their toes until the final whistle blows.


College hockey games are known for their high intensity and physicality, which can take a toll on both the players and the audience. Thus it is important to have breaks in between periods so that everyone can catch their breath and regain their energy. These breaks are commonly referred to as “intermissions”.


The duration of an intermission in college hockey games is 15 minutes long. During these 15 minutes, players will retreat to their locker rooms to rest, rehydrate, and strategize while coaches give them feedback and make necessary adjustments. Meanwhile, the audience also gets a break from the action and takes this opportunity to use the bathroom, grab some food or drinks, or simply stretch their legs.

Activities During Intermission

During intermissions, several activities take place to keep the audience entertained. One popular activity is the “Chuck-a-puck” game, where fans try to toss pucks onto the ice surface with the hope that they will land inside a designated area. The person who lands the puck closest to the center wins a prize. Another common activity is the T-shirt cannon, where promotional shirts are launched into the crowd using compressed air cannons.

Additionally, some college teams choose to showcase their cheerleading squad or pep band during intermissions to hype up the audience. At times, special guests may even make an appearance during intermissions, such as mascots, professional athletes, or local celebrities.

Tuning in After Intermission

After the intermission period is over, audiences start tuning back into the game, anticipating the next period. Teams come out of their locker rooms more energized and motivated than before, ready to continue the battle. One mistake new viewers often make is not keeping track of the time remaining in each period. The clock does not stop during intermissions, so it is important to note how much time is left on the clock before the game resumes.

Effect on Momentum

The effect of an intermission on a college hockey game can be significant. In some cases, teams use this break time to reset and reclaim their momentum while for others, the 15 minutes pause may cause a lapse in focus resulting in loss of momentum. Teams’ ability to manage these breaks and come out strong after them plays and major roles determinant of success. Thus, coaches often emphasize strategies to help keep players focused and alert even when they are taking some time off. Additionally, sports analysts claim that shorter intermissions are better as they allow teams to capitalize on their current energy levels.

“It’s important to keep everyone involved – you have the players who need rest, but also fans paying good money for entertainment.” – Dave Borchardt, former athletic director at Gustavus Adolphus College


In college hockey, overtime occurs if a game is tied at the end of regulation play. Instead of ending in a tie, the game will continue with sudden-death overtime until a team scores and wins. This can add excitement to an already thrilling sport, but it also requires players to be physically and mentally prepared for additional playtime.

When Overtime Occurs

Overtime occurs in college hockey when neither team has scored more goals than their opponent during regulation. The length of time allowed for overtime (including intermission) varies between conferences, but most use a 5-minute period followed by additional periods as needed.

If no one scores after the initial 5-minute period, then the teams will switch ends and continue playing additional sudden-death overtime periods until there is a winner. It’s important for players to stay focused throughout this extended gameplay, as exhaustion may set in and mistakes could result in costly turnovers or scoring opportunities for the opposing team.

Length of Overtime

The length of overtime in college hockey depends on which conference the team belongs to. For example, Hockey East uses a 20-minute sudden-death overtime period, while the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) uses a 5-minute sudden-death overtime period followed by up to two more 5-minute periods if necessary.

If no team has won during the first multiple overtime periods, a shootout competition will take place, where three different players from each team attempt to score against the opposing goalie. If still tied after the initial round of shootouts, then additional rounds of single-player shootouts will alternate until a winner emerges.

Goal Rules During Overtime

The goal rules in overtime are similar to those during regulation time: any puck that crosses the goal line and completely passes the goalposts counts as a goal. However, special rules apply when it comes to icing and faceoffs.

Icing is not called during overtime, except in rare circumstances where there is clear intent to ice the puck by the defending team. This allows for more continuous play and encourages teams to utilize aggressive offensive strategies. Faceoffs take place at one of the nine designated spots on the rink, rather than the usual five spots during regulation time.

“Great moments are born from great opportunities.” -Herb Brooks

As hockey players know, games can be unpredictable and fast-paced. Overtime introduces an additional level of excitement and challenge to the sport, making for unforgettable moments of victory and defeat. It’s important for players to remain alert and focused throughout these extra periods, and to carefully strategize their moves while aiming for that winning final shot.

Penalties and Power Plays

Hockey is known for delivering intense and exciting moments on the ice, with players consistently battling it out to claim their victory. It’s a physically demanding sport that requires endurance, skill, and discipline. However, there are times when even the most skilled hockey player can receive penalties that may affect their team’s performance during the game. In this article, we will discuss the types of penalties in college hockey games and their durations.

Types of Penalties

In general, penalties in college hockey games fall into two main categories: minor penalties and major penalties. The severity of the penalty often depends on the actions of the player during the game.

  • Minor penalties: These violations are less severe than major penalties but still result in the offending player being off-ice for two minutes. During this time, his or her team must play shorthanded (with one fewer player). Common minor infractions include tripping, hooking, high-sticking, holding, slashing, interference, elbowing, boarding, charging, and cross-checking. For example, if a player uses his stick to impede an opponent’s progress, he may get called for a “hooking” infraction and serve two minutes in the penalty box.
  • Major penalties: These infractions are deemed more dangerous and severe than minor ones, resulting in the penalized player being sent off-ice for five minutes. His or her team, likewise, must play shorthanded for the entirety of the five-minute duration. Fighting, injuring another player deliberately, spearing an individual with the end of your stick are considered significant infractions. A player can be disqualified completely from the rest of the game with a career-ending suspension because of severe violations.

Duration of Penalties

The duration of penalties is another critical aspect that players must know about when playing college hockey games.

  • Minor penalty: It’s essential to remember that a minor infraction will result in the penalized player being off-ice for two minutes, as previously stated. During this time, his or her team would play shorthanded. For example, if one player were “tripping” an opponent by striking their feet out from under them, he may get called for tripping and spend two minutes sitting on ice in the box designated for the offending team.
  • Major penalty: Five-minute durations apply to significant infractions where the referee believes attempting to aware control of the attacking zone deliberately interfered with the opposing team by committing any dangerous fouls like fighting or repeated unsportsmanlike conduct in aggressive behavior against officiating staff; these forms of discipline are common as well. This provides the non-offending club extended power play periods (greater than the usual situation during minor infractures).
“Hockey is unique because it has such a big emphasis on teamwork and body contact,” says Mike Legg, head coach at NCAA D1 Ferris State University. “Players in positions can’t be soft because you need to win puck battles. However, knowing how to use your stick legally and avoid getting penalties requires mental toughness.”

Hockey players approach each game with grit, passion, relentless effort – but also diligence and self-control. Respectful sportsmanship standards should be upheld without exceptions made: good luck out there!

Shot Clock

Hockey is a fast-paced game that requires quick decisions from players. The shot clock is an important part of the game, as it keeps track of how long a team has possession of the puck before they must take a shot on goal.

Explanation of Shot Clock

The shot clock in college hockey games lasts for 35 seconds. This means that once a team gains possession of the puck, they have 35 seconds to make a shot on goal. If they fail to do so within this time frame, the referee will blow their whistle and call a violation of the shot clock rule.

The shot clock begins as soon as a team gains possession of the puck, regardless of where on the ice they are located. It continues to run even if the puck goes out of play or if a stoppage occurs due to an injury or penalty.

Consequences of Violating Shot Clock

If a team violates the shot clock rule, the other team will gain possession of the puck at center ice. This is called a turnover, and it can be costly for the offending team as it gives their opponent an opportunity to score.

In addition to losing possession, violating the shot clock rule may also result in a penalty. For example, if a player intentionally holds onto the puck for longer than the allotted time, they may receive a minor penalty for delay of game.

Resetting the Shot Clock

The shot clock can be reset by several different events during the course of a game. If a team takes a shot that hits the net, the shot clock will reset and begin again. Similarly, if the opposing goalkeeper freezes the puck or covers it with their glove, the shot clock will reset when play resumes.

The shot clock may also be reset if there is a stoppage of play due to an injury or penalty. In this case, the referee will signal for the clock to reset when play resumes.

Exceptions to the Shot Clock

While most situations in college hockey games are subject to the shot clock rule, there are some exceptions. These include:

  • Power plays: When a team has a player in the penalty box, the opposing team does not have to adhere to the shot clock rule.
  • Overtime periods: If a game goes into overtime, the shot clock is not enforced.
“The shot clock is an important part of the game as it helps ensure that players don’t hold onto the puck for too long and keeps the game moving at a fast pace.” -Willie O’Ree

Understanding the shot clock rule is crucial for any college hockey player or fan. With its enforcement during regulation time, teams must always be prepared to make quick decisions on the ice to avoid costly penalties or turnovers. However, with certain exceptions, the shot clock can be temporarily ignored during power plays and overtime periods.

Gameplay and Scoring

College hockey games are typically 60 minutes long, consisting of three periods lasting 20 minutes each. If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, it may continue into a sudden-death overtime period until one team scores.

The gameplay in college hockey emphasizes speed, physicality, and aggression on both ends of the ice. Each team has six players on the ice at any given time: three forwards, two defensemen, and a goaltender.

A goal is scored when the puck completely crosses the goal line between the opponent’s goal posts and under the crossbar. A referee or linesman must determine that the puck fully crossed the line before awarding a goal.

Goals Scored

In addition to traditional goals, penalties can lead to power-play opportunities for teams where they have an extra skater advantage. During this time, if a goal is scored by the team with the manpower edge, it is called a power-play goal. If the opposing team scores short-handed (while down a player), it is known as a short-handed goal.

Another unique feature of college hockey scoring involves empty-net goals. When a team pulls its goaltender in the closing moments of the game while trailing, they leave their net unguarded. Any goal scored into the empty net during these situations does not count towards individual statistics like assists or points.

Assists and Points

Assists represent another key statistic in college hockey, awarded to players who pass the puck to a teammate who subsequently scores a goal. Players earn one assist per goal scored, with up to two total assists possible per goal.

Points refer to the sum of a player’s goals and assists throughout a season. This metric is frequently used to compare players across different teams and conferences. The most successful college hockey players typically accumulate a high number of points throughout their career, indicating consistent production on the ice.


College hockey features many faceoffs throughout each game, serving as an essential component of possession changes. Players line up against one another at center ice, and a referee drops the puck into a neutral zone circle.

The team that wins the faceoff gains immediate control of the puck, providing them with a chance to attack or defend depending on their current position on the ice. Because of its importance in determining momentum, coaches will often use specialized players known as “faceoff specialists” for these situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a typical college hockey game?

A typical college hockey game lasts for 60 minutes. The game is divided into three periods, each lasting 20 minutes. There are also two intermissions of 15 minutes each.

What is the duration of each period in a college hockey game?

Each period in a college hockey game lasts for 20 minutes. There are three periods in total, with two intermissions in between. The game clock is stopped for penalties, goals, timeouts, and other delays.

Are there any specific rules that determine the length of a college hockey game?

Yes, there are specific rules that determine the length of a college hockey game. The game consists of three 20-minute periods, with two 15-minute intermissions. If the game is tied after regulation, it can go into overtime, which can be sudden death or a shootout.

Do college hockey games have overtime periods?

Yes, college hockey games can go into overtime if the game is tied after regulation. The overtime period can be sudden death or a shootout, depending on the league. The overtime period lasts for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the league and the game situation.

How do college hockey games differ in length from professional hockey games?

College hockey games are shorter than professional hockey games. A college hockey game lasts for 60 minutes, while a professional hockey game lasts for 60 to 65 minutes. Professional hockey games have three periods of 20 minutes each, with two intermissions of 17 minutes. They also have a longer overtime period and shootouts to determine the winner.

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