To know what ‘sudden death’ means in a shootout, let’s first understand the format of a penalty shootout and how it is executed.
A shootout in hockey is required as a tiebreaker when the teams end up scoring the same number of goals or no goals in a knockout match are scored where a winner needs to be declared in order to progress in the tournament. Unlike football, there is no extra-time period in hockey if the regulation game of 60 minutes ends in a tie. The game straightaway moves to a shootout.
THE SHOOTOUT RULES
The teams are asked to select five players each and the order in which they will take turns to take five shootouts. Earlier, the shootout in hockey used to be like a penalty stroke, where the ball was kept at a spot seven yards out from the goal and the player pushed or flicked it, trying to beat the goalkeeper in the post. However, now, as per FIH’s tournament regulations for outdoor competition:
a) the goalkeeper/defending player starts on or behind the goal-line between the goal posts
b) the ball is placed on the nearest 23-metre line opposite the centre of the goal
c) an attacker stands outside the 23-metre area near the ball
d) the umpire blows the whistle to start time
e) an official at the technical table starts the clock
f) the attacker and the goalkeeper/defending player may then move in any direction
g) the shoot-out attempt is completed when (1) 8 seconds have elapsed since the starting signal or (2) a goal is scored or (3) the attacker or the goalkeeper commits an unintentional offence inside or outside the circle in which case the shoot-out is re-taken by the same player against the same goalkeeper or (4) the goalkeeper commits an intentional offence inside or outside the circle, in which case a penalty stroke is awarded and taken or (5) the ball goes out of play over the back-line or side-line, which includes the goalkeeper intentionally playing the ball over the back-line.
If the above still fails to decide a winner and the scores remain level after five shootout attempts each, then the game moves to a sudden death shootout.
Everything remains the same in sudden death, except that when a team takes a one-goal lead over the other, and the opposition fails to equalise the game comes to an end. Like in the World Cup crossover match between India and New Zealand on Sunday, Sam Lane scored to put NZ ahead 5-4, but Shamsher Singh failed to level it, and thus New Zealand were declared the winners.