Photo by Sarah Middlesteadt

3ICE takes over the Prudential Center with exciting 3-on-3 hockey

Prudential Center hosted the upstart 3ICE hockey league on Wednesday night. In its second year, the league tours the country, putting on four 3-on-3 hockey games in a one-and-done format with points attached to each game. Think of the Big 3 basketball league for hockey.

The league's highlight is how games are played with a running clock and attractions like a penalty shot where the shot taker is chased by their opponents. The idea is to take the NHL's overtime 3-on-3 rules that generate open play and increased scoring chances and create a summer league for fans that is more exciting than your standard hockey game.

There are many rules attached to the games that I will not go into here, but the action is fast-paced and constant, so increased focus is necessary to keep up. Matchups consist of two eight-minute halves while music blares through the arena, a different atmosphere from your standard New Jersey Devils game at The Rock. To say it's exciting and a different version of your dad's hockey is an understatement.

What makes the league feel like your dad's hockey are the coaches that 3ICE was able to get. NHL legends John LeClair, Guy Carbonneau, Ray Bourque, and Eddie Johnston are the leaders of the teams, which adds plenty of experience to the league.

The format for the event was as follows: there were two semi-final games. The winner of those games goes into the evening's finals. The two losing teams play in a consolation game where points are still at stake for the overall standings for the season. Here is how the night of games went in Newark.

Semi-Final 1 - Team Bourque 7, Team LeClair 1

Ryan Bednard made 14 saves in a blowout win for Team Bourque over Team LeClair. Peter Lenes picked up a hat trick in the win as they advanced to the finals against the winner of Team Carbonneau vs. Team Johnston.

Semi-Final 2 – Team Johnston 4, Team Carbonneau 2

Cody Sylvester and Eddie Matsushima each scored two goals as Team Johnston advanced to the final over Team Carboneau. Going into Wednesday's action, Matsuhima was the wearer of The Golden Helmet, which goes to the current leader for goals in the league.

Jeremy Brodeur, the son of Devils' legendary goalie Martin Brodeur, was in net for Team Carbonneau as he could not turn back the onslaught of Team Johnston.

Consolation Game – Team LeClair 6, Team Carbonneau 5

In a game that looked over midway through the second half, Team LeClair held on after allowing three unanswered goals to make the game close. Tim Coffman scored a hat trick for Team LeClair, who picked up 0.5 points for their overall standings.

A weird occurrence happened with 20.8 seconds left, as both teams had two simultaneous penalties. After the referees discussed, it was determined that Team Carbonneau, who was down one goal, would get a standard penalty shot, while Team LeClair would take their penalty shot under the jailbreak penalty shot rules. Team Carbonneau's penalty shot was missed, as that was their final chance to tie the game.

3ICE Newark Final – Team Johnston 6, Team Bourque 1

The intensity was high early as both teams wanted two points from winning this game. In the end, Team Bourque had no answers for Team Johnston. Matsushima scored once again for Team Johnston as his team picked up two necessary points as the season goes into its final two weeks before the Championship in Philadelphia on August 12th.

Overall, 3ICE is an excellent concept that is fun and entertaining for fans. There is an adjustment to the style and the quickness of the game, but once you get used to it, it becomes something you can't take your eyes off. In its second year, the league looks to be on the cusp of something incredible for the summer for hockey fans.