It is hard not to be excited about Cole Caufield as a Habs fan. The team has had only one true goal scorer on the roster since the turn of the century and has battled with goal production for most of the Carey Price era. Caufield’s production at Wisconsin this year (and his career for that matter) has been nothing short of astonishing and the Habs prospect is a legit Hobey Baker contender.
Very few prospects have done as much as Caufield has in terms of progression in his game. In his Freshman season earned Big Ten Rookie of the Year honours. While the personal success was there for Caufield, the team success was not as the Badgers finished last in their Conference. The team’s lack of success coupled with the fears of a loss season due to the pandemic had Habs fans speculating on several different landing spots for Caufield in the 2020-21 season.
Despite all the noise, it was clear that Caufield was dead set on remaining a Badger and finishing what he started. In an interview with Marc Dumont on the History in the Making Podcast, the former first round pick made his intention and goals for the season clear.
It goes without saying that Caufield would have to be a prominent leader for the team to have success. A leader in every sense of the word really, but a player of Caufield’s talent needs to be productive on the scoresheet. He led the NCAA in goals and points (along with multiple other offensive categories) in both totals and on a per game basis.
More importantly the Badgers finished the season as the Big Ten Regular Season Champions. This gave them a first round bye straight to the Semi Finals of the Big Ten Tournament where they took on Penn State. Caufield was quiet for the first two periods, essentially having a defender literally follow him everywhere on the ice. With the game tied 2-2 in the third Dylan Holloway (EDM ’20, 1st RD) took a five minute penalty and a Game Misconduct.
The Badgers managed to kill off the penalty and took control of the game. Well to be specific Caufield did. Wisconsin Head Coach Tony Granato double shifted Caufield for the rest of the game and it paid off. Caufield scored a clutch goal on the Power Play to tie the game with a little over five minutes left in the game. He would later follow this up with a breakaway goal to seal the victory in OT.
It was a quick turnaround as the Big Ten Finals took place last night in the Battle of the Border States. Wisconsin faced the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who pulled off an impressive come from behind victory against Michigan.
The finals played out as a battle of two periods, as the two teams took turns filling the net. The Gophers opened the second with a 1-0 lead before exploding for four goals in the period, extending their lead to 5-1 going into the third. To the Badgers credit they did not go down without a fight, scoring three straight goals of their own in the third period. Caufield found his way onto the scoresheet once again, scoring the team’s fourth goal to cut the deficit to one.
Unfortunately the clock struck 12 on the Wisconsin comeback. With the goalie pulled Minnesota’s Blake McLaughlin scored on the empty net (fourth point of the night) to give the Gopher’s the 6-4 win and the Big Ten Championship.
As much as this would’ve been the fitting fairy tale ending for Caufield and the Badgers, they can still get their revenge. Wisconsin is a lock to make the NCAA Tournament as one of the 10 wild card teams. The Tournament kicks off with the first two rounds between March 26-28 with the Final Four taking place April 8-10.
For the Habs fans already counting down the days, this likely means that at the earliest Caufield could join the Habs April 10th (2 week quarantine). Alternatively this could extend to as far as April 25th, and if I am being honest, I hope he gets his National Championship.
On a more personal note for Caufield, he was named as one of the Top 10 Finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. This coming on the heels of his Big 10 Player of the Year award, which he won unanimously. I feel confident in predicting that Caufield will eventually be one of the 3 Finalists before hopefully taking home the Award as the Country’s best player.
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family! In the latest episode of Weekly Sauce Terry and Alex sit down with a pair of CFL Linebackers in Montreal Alouettes’ DJ Lalama and recently signed Toronto Argonauts’ Henoc Muamba. We spoke to the pair about the potential CFL x XFL partnership, their experience at NFL camps and of course, their favourite restaurants!