January 10, 2010 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Cahoon Apologizes for Team's 'Dismal' Play

CHN Staff Report

Massachusetts coach Don Cahoon, emotional and exasperated, tore into his team while accepting responsibility for a 7-2 loss to New Hampshire on Saturday, which comes amid a 2-6 stretch.

"I want to apologize to the entire UMass hockey community, and anybody that's been following this program, for that showing," Cahoon said. "Like every coach at this level, I have to be accountable and take responsibility for the way my team shows up and competes, and tonight we played like a defeated group of people."

Since Christmas, UMass defeated Union in the semifinal of the UConn Classic, but then lost the final to Bentley, and has been blown out in two Hockey East games since.

"We were lackluster in so many ways," Cahoon said. "We had so many number of players defensively in particular that played poorer than I've ever seen them play. And this is something that's been going on for a few weeks now. Like all programs, we're going through some struggles, but it's not just about hockey, and we haven't been able to shrug that."

Cahoon said that his team has not handled being targeted as a top team, which has come, to varying degrees, each of the last three seasons.

"We certainly don't cope with being a targeted team," Cahoon said. "As soon as we started to get a national ranking, our guys wilted. And this is something this group of guys will have to live, and I'll have to live with, that's been developed over three years."

In 2006-07, Cahoon's seventh season as head coach, Massachusetts made the NCAA tournament for the first time in the program's history. But the Minutemen have not been able to build on that success, finishing below .500 the next two seasons.

In 2007-08, UMass started 9-3-5 the first half, then went 5-13-1 after New Year's.

In 2008-09, UMass was 9-7-1 at New Year's, and 7-13-2 following.

This season, the Minutement are 2-6 since a 9-2 start.

"Three years running, we have gone into Christmas as a team of the future, and as a team that is to be reckoned with, and three years running we have fallen right on our face," Cahoon said. "And we have to look at each other every day, because we are the only ones that can solve this."

Cahoon gave credit to New Hampshire for its effort, but continued to criticize his own team's.

"Our effort is as dismal as I could ever imagine this group of athletes exhibiting," Cahoon said.

UMass plays Northeastern on Sunday night on national television.

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