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Rules for new NLL playoff format

05/12/2014, 2:20pm EDT
By NLL.com

Regulations for possible 10-minute tiebreaker mini-game to decide series


The National Lacrosse League has outlined rules and regulations for the new NLL Playoffs format this year. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The second round of the 2014 National Lacrosse League playoffs continues this weekend with Game Two of the East and West Division Finals. The Calgary Roughnecks visit the Edmonton Rush at Rexall Place on Friday, May 16 at 10 p.m. ET while the Rochester Knighthawks host the Buffalo Bandits at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

NLL playoff games feature a three-man officiating crew on the floor, an increase from the two-man crews used during the regular season. Also new to the postseason format, the Division Finals and Championship have expanded to a two-game series from the previous single-game elimination setup.

Teams who win both games shall win the two-game series. In the event of a series split with both teams winning one game, a 10-minute tiebreaker mini-game will be played immediately following the conclusion of Game Two to determine the winner of the playoff series.

The mini-game shall be one 10-minute period. Should the clubs be tied following the 10-minute period, sudden death overtime will decide the outcome.

The rules for the 10-minute tiebreaker mini-game are as follows:

  • All penalties and ejections will carry over from Game Two of the series into the mini-game. This will include any accrual rules for major penalties (Rule 38.2) and any penalties for that matter (minors, majors, misconducts, match penalties) that were not able to be served in their entirety prior to the end of the second game of the series. Players who are ejected during Game Two of the series are not permitted to play in the mini-game.
  • Goalies will start at their respective ends closest to their bench to begin the mini-game.
  • Each team shall have one timeout during the 10-minute mini-game regulation period. No timeouts shall carry over from Game Two.
  • There shall be one media timeout under the five-minute mark of the 10-minute mini-game. There will no halftime or any other intermission break during the mini-game.
  • Instant replay challenges. Teams will have one challenge flag opportunity. Officials shall initiate challenges for plays occurring with less than two minutes remaining in regulation in the mini-game.
  • Should an illegal substitution occur less than two minutes remaining in the mini-game, there will be a penalty shot assessed.
  • Interval length between the conclusion of the second game of the series and the mini-game shall be a two-minute interval.
  • Teams are not permitted to make lineup changes after Game Two and prior to the mini-game. The dress roster submitted for the beginning of Game Two of the series will be the same for the mini-game.

Should the game be tied after the 10-minute mini-game, regular sudden death overtime rules will apply as per the NLL Rulebook, which include the following:

  • A sudden death overtime shall decide the outcome. As with a regulation game, the game clock will be set to a 15-minute period with the game ending on the first goal.
  • Replays are only initiated by the officials during overtime. Head coaches will not be able to challenge any plays in overtime (Rule 17.8).
  • Teams shall be afforded one timeout. No timeouts shall be carried over into overtime from the mini-game regulation period (Rule 14).
  • Goalies shall change ends prior to the beginning of the mini-game overtime.
  • Should an illegal substitution occur anytime in overtime, a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team (Rule 56.8).
  • Interval length between the conclusion of the mini-game and overtime shall be a two-minute interval.

The new playoff format was made official this past offseason when the league reached an accord with the Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association for a new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2020 NLL season.

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