2014 Olympic Winter Games – Format

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 2:09 PM NHL.com

Preliminary Round – Format

Twelve teams, divided into three groups of four, will have the opportunity to reach the playoff round and play for Olympic gold. Each team will play the three opponents in its group from Feb. 12 to Feb. 16.

Group A Group B Group C

Russia Austria Czech Republic

Slovakia Canada Latvia

Slovenia Finland Sweden

USA Norway Switzerland

Preliminary Round – Point Allocation

* 3 points for the winning team at the conclusion of regulation time

* 1 point for both teams at the conclusion of regulation time if the game is tied

* An additional point earned for the team winning the game in a five-minute overtime period, or the Game Winning Shots Procedure if the teams are still tied following conclusion of the overtime period

* 0 points for the team losing the game in regulation time

Preliminary Round – Overtime Format

If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, a five-minute overtime period shall be played immediately after an intermission of three minutes. The teams will defend the same goals as in the third period. If no goal is scored in the overtime period then the Game-Winning Shots Procedure ("shootout") will apply. All overtime periods of any IIHF game shall be played with each team at the numerical strength of four skaters and one goalkeeper.

Preliminary Round – Game-Winning Shots Procedure

If no goal is scored in the overtime period then the Game-Winning Shots (GWS) Procedure ("shootout") will apply. The following procedure will be utilized:

* Three different shooters from each team will take alternate shots, until a decisive goal is scored.

* If the game is still tied after three shots by each team, the GWS will continue with a tiebreak shootout by one player of each team, with a reversed shooting order. The same or new players can take the tiebreak shots.

* The same player also can be used for each shot by a team in the tiebreak shootout.

* Only the decisive goal will count in the result of the game.

* Shots will be taken at both ends of the ice. The area of the ice to be used will be dry scraped.

* A coin toss will determine which team takes the first shot, with the winner of the toss having the choice whether his team will shoot first or second.

* Any player whose penalty was not over when overtime ended cannot take the shots and must stay in the penalty box or in the dressing room.

* Once named, players may only be replaced in the event of injury or penalty.

* The goalkeepers will defend the same goal, as determined by the Referee. The goalkeepers from each team may be changed after each shot.

Preliminary Round – Tiebreaking Procedure

The tiebreaking system for two teams with the same number of points in a standing will be the game between the two teams, the winner of the game taking precedence.

Should three or more teams be tied in points, then a tiebreaking formula will be applied as follows, creating a subgroup among the tied teams. This process will continue until only two or none of the teams remain tied. In the case of two tied teams remaining, the game between the two would then be the determining tiebreaker as the game could not end as a tie. In the case of none of the teams being tied, the criteria specified in the respective step applies.

Step 1: Taking into consideration the games between each of the tied teams, a subgroup is created applying the points awarded in the direct games among the tied teams from which the teams are then ranked accordingly.

Step 2: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points, then the better goal difference in the direct games among the tied teams will be decisive.

Step 3: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points and goal difference, then the highest number of goals scored by these teams in their direct games will be decisive.

Step 4: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points, goal difference and goals scored, then the results between each of the three teams and the closest best-ranked team outside the subgroup will be applied. In this case, the tied team with the best result (1. points, 2. goal difference, 3. more goals scored) against the closest best ranked-team will take precedence.

Step 5: Should the teams still remain tied, then the results between each of the three teams and the next highest best-ranked team outside the subgroup will be applied.

Step 6: Should the teams still remain tied after these five steps have been exercised, then sport considerations will be applied and the teams will be ranked by their positions coming into the championship (seeding).

Preliminary Round – Final Ranking

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Round, all 12 teams will be ranked in one group. The following criteria will be used to determine this ranking:

1. Higher position in the group

2. Higher number of points

3. Better goal difference

4. Higher number of goals scored for

5. Better 2013 IIHF World Ranking

Playoff Games – Format

The top four teams from the Preliminary Round (labeled 1D-4D) will receive a bye into the Quarterfinals and will be named as the Home Team for their Quarterfinal pairing. The remaining teams play a single Qualification Playoff with the following matchups:

5D vs. 12D (winner will become E1)

6D vs. 11D (winner will become E2)

7D vs. 10D (winner will become E3)

8D vs. 9D (winner will become E4)

The four winning teams of the Qualification Playoff games will advance to the Quarterfinal Round. The four losing teams of the Qualification Playoff games will be ranked Nos. 9 through 12 according to their ranking after the Preliminary Round.

The Quarterfinal Games will be played with the following matchups:

1D vs. E4 (winner will become F1)

2D vs. E3 (winner will become F2)

3D vs. E2 (winner will become F3)

4D vs. E1 (winner will become F4)

The four winning teams of the Quarterfinal games will advance to the Semifinals. The four losing teams of the Quarterfinals will be ranked Nos. 5 through 8 according to their ranking after the Preliminary Round.

The Semifinal games will be played with the following matchups. The home team will be the higher-ranked team as determined at the completion of the Preliminary Round:

F1 vs. F4

F2 vs. F3

The two winning teams of the Semifinals will play for the Gold Medal, while the two losing teams of the Semifinals will play for the Bronze Medal. The team with the higher Preliminary Round ranking will be the home team in each medal game.

Playoff Games – Overtime Format

In case of a tie at the conclusion of regulation time in a Quarterfinal, Semifinal and Bronze-Medal Game, there will be a 10-minute, sudden-death overtime period played, following a three-minute intermission. The teams will defend the same goals as in the third period. The team that scores a goal during this period is the winner.

In the Gold-Medal Game there will be a 20-minute, sudden-death overtime period, following a 15-minute intermission during which the ice will be resurfaced. The teams will change ends. The team that scores a goal during this period is declared winner.

If no goal is scored during the sudden-death overtime, there will be Game-Winning Shot (GWS) competition ("shootout") according to the Game-Winning Shots Procedure outlined previously.

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