UMass hockey begins movement to eliminate third period

By Morning Wood Staff

#Spotzz #WhyDoWeEvenNeed3periodzanywayz #ScrewDaRulez
#Spotzz #WhyDoWeEvenNeed3periodzanywayz #ScrewDaRulez

Football has four quarters, college basketball has two halves, so why not make it an even two frames for hockey?

This was the central question brought up by Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto Tuesday at a press conference he called to announce his formal request to the NCAA to eliminate the third period of play.

“It’s just not necessary,” Micheletto said. “If you’re the better team over the first 40 minutes, why even show up for the final 20? Early on is when it really counts.”

The final period proved troublesome for UMass throughout the 2014-15 season as the Minutemen (11-23-2, 5-16-1 Hockey East) allowed a conference-high 67 goals in the last frame, 26 more than the next closest team.

But according to Micheletto, these late-game struggles aren’t the main reason behind Micheletto’s request. Instead, he argued that it came down to the unfairness of prolonged games, which have a negative effect on the players, as well as the fans.

“Let’s be honest, most students only come to our games as a pregame for whatever other nightly activities they do on the weekends,” Micheletto said at the press conference. “Why keep them at the Mullins Center any longer than they want to be? It’s not like they’re focusing on the game by the third period anyway.”

Micheletto added that the original rule change making a hockey game last three periods was outdated and does not reflect how today’s game should be played. With the rule being implemented in 1910, Micheletto emphasized that it was the same year that permitted the forward pass in football, something he said was equally pointless.

“Just look how that turned out,” Micheletto said.

Senior goalie Steve Mastalerz is one player in favor of Micheletto’s initiative. He explained how once the third period rolls around, it is easy to lose focus due to fatigue and other motives.

“Playing a lot of Friday and Saturday games, you miss a lot of late-night Friends reruns on TBS,” Mastalerz said. “It’s something that gets in the back of every hockey player’s head once 10 p.m. comes.

“If getting rid of the third period allows me to sit down and watch my show, I’m all for it.”

UMass has already shown its resistance to the third period, beginning its peaceful protest prior to its pivotal third game of the Hockey East tournament’s opening round matchup against Notre Dame on March 8.

Needing a win to advance to the next round, the Minutemen instead voiced their displeasure by not even showing up to the Compton Arena in what was a 7-0 Fighting Irish victory that ended UMass’ season.

“We booked our plane tickets home right after that late-game meltdown the night before,” Micheletto said, referring to the Minutemen’s 5-3 loss in game two, in which UMass was outscored 3-1 in the final period. “We refuse to be oppressed into playing a third period any longer.”

Micheletto has garnered some outside support from other hockey teams around the nation who have found similar trouble in closing out games. Notably, the Boston Bruins have offered their support in expanding Micheletto’s demands to the professional level.

“We see a lot of ourselves in the UMass program this year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “An underachieving mess. We’re happy to help.”

Wes Mantooth can be reached at [email protected], or at the nearest Red Lobster where he may be having a very nice seafood dinner with his mother Dorothy, who is a saint.