You may remember, three short months ago, that Cole Caufield was setting the college hockey world aflame for the Wisconsin Badgers with his propensity to score goals at a dizzying pace which led to him winning the Hobey Baker Award. Well, if you stopped following his career after Wisconsin’s embarrassing first round lost in the NCAA Tournament you, my friend, have missed out on a WILD ride.
Caufield signed with the Montreal Canadiens, the team that drafted him, and after a few minor league games got called up to the big leagues. Since then he has been a part of the lineup that has taken the Habs from the last team to clinch their playoff spot to the freaking Stanley Cup Finals.
On Thursday night, the Canadiens beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime to clinch their berth in the final and Caufield scored a goal in the second period to give Montreal a 2-1 lead.
The above was Caufield’s fourth goal of the conference finals. Caufield can’t even legally buy his own beer in his hometown Stevens Point, but he sure as shit can send Vegas packing back to the desert.
It is important to realize the history we are watching unfold in front of our eyes. Per the excellent Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal:
Caufield will be the fifth player to skate for an NCAA team and appear in the Stanley Cup Final in the same season. Two of the first four also played for the Badgers. The list:
Neal Broten, 1981, Minnesota and Minnesota North Stars (also a Hobey winner).
David Maley, 1986, UW and Montreal.
Brett Hull, 1986, Minnesota Duluth and Calgary.
John Byce, 1990, UW and Boston.
For the playoffs, Caufield now has four goals and five assists with a couple of the goals coming on the man advantage. He’ll enter the Stanley Cup Finals on a two game goal scoring streak and whoever wins Game 7 of the Tampa Bay Lightning/New York Islanders series better watch out.