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Icewomen Denied ECAC Tourney Bid

By Joanne Nelson, Crimson Staff Writer

The ECAC announced Monday the six teams that will compete in the post-season women's hockey tournament, but the seedings have raised many eyebrows in Division I hockey.

The committee made three controversial decisions, which have left several coaches questioning the tournament's format.

The committee, headed by Coach Laura Halldorson of Division III Colby, seeded Northeastern ahead of New Hampshire, despite the Huskies recent loss to Harvard in the Beanpot.

The committee also gave Princeton (9-7-1 overall) the number-four seed and home-ice against Dartmouth, which has beaten both Northeastern and UNH.

Finally, the committee selected Brown over Harvard for the sixth and final tournament slot, even through Harvard has a better ECAC record.

Decisions were based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition, record against common opponents, strength of schedule, overall won-loss record and recent performance.

Proper Use of Criteria

Coaches, however, questioned the committee's proper use of the criteria in seeding teams.

One argument is that the selection committee based its decisions almost entirely on head-to-head records, ignoring the other four criteria.

Dooley suggested that his team's poor performance against Brown head-to-head was the primary reason it did not get a bid.

"We've had a great year, but I'm afraid a couple of bad bounces [4-3 and 5-3 losses to Brown] during exam period have come back to haunt us," Dooley said.

Crowe said Dartmouth, too, suffered from improper application of selection criteria.

"In four out of the five factors, we had Princeton beat. But we couldn't beat them head-to-head," Crowe said.

Coaches have also argued that the standards for selection are incomplete: they say that ECAC regular-season standings should have been the primary criteria for tournament seeding.

"Coaches thought that [the committee] would go by the standings and everything else would be used in case of a tie," Crowe said. "We were shocked because we're a point and a half ahead of Princeton in the ECAC."

"It's as if the Beanpot [Harvard beat Northeastern, 3-0] didn't count at all," Harvard forward Kim Landry said. "Brown's victory over [Division III] Middlebury counted the same as our victory over Northeastern."

The committee also overlooked several late-season results that could have affected tournament seedings.

These games include Brown's 5-1 loss to Providence Monday and a Dartmouth's 7-1 drubbing of Harvard last night.

"I'm not sure that the formula in place is the right one," Providence Coach John Marcetti said. "If I were on the committee and the decisions were that close, I would have made sure those final games meant something."

Ivy Title

In many years, the Ivy League title would not even have been decided at the point the ECAC committee made its decision. This factor reduces the importance of the Ivy League within the ECAC.

For the past eight years, the Ivy League has held its own tournament and sent its winner to the ECAC Tournament.

The Ivy tournament was abolished in the hopes of integrating the two leagues fully. However, if neither ECAC standings nor Ivy titles matter to the selection committee, Ivy coaches wonder what they have gained in giving up the tournament.

"I think we made a mistake. The Ivy League has always been competitive and fun," Crowe said. "Our tournament gave four Ivy teams another shot in a tournament, but now only one team will make the ECAC semifinals."

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