Montreal Canadiens: Cole Caufield Propels Wisconsin to Big Ten Championship

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Cole Caufield (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: Cole Caufield (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens top prospect Cole Caufield put his team on his back yesterday, like he has done so many times before, and carried them through the semi-finals and into the Big Ten Conference championship game.

There was doubt creeping in during the third period, but it was another terrific performance that Caufield that propelled the Wisconsin Badgers to tonight’s final.

Wisconsin was ranked 1st in the conference in the regular season and earned a bye to yesterday’s semifinal. They faced the Penn State Nittany Lions who defeated Notre Dame on Sunday night in the quarters to move on. All rounds in this postseason are single game elimination.

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Penn State scored 1:44 into the third period of last night’s semifinal game to give themselves a 2-1 edge. Also, Dylan Holloway, another star forward for the Badgers was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct at the same time. This meant not only were the Badgers trailing, they had to kill off a five minute penalty and were without one of their best players for the rest of the night.

They did kill off the penalty, and would tie the game shortly afterwards. However, Penn State pulled ahead again with just over eight minutes to play. Then, it was all Cole Caufield the rest of the way.

The Badgers got a power play with 6:10 to play in regulation and just 17 seconds later, Caufield scored to tie the game at 3. He got the puck at the right point, where he is normally stationed during power plays. He faked a quick shot before stepping around a Penn State defender and then quickly fired a perfect wrist shot just inside the far post.

This would prove to be just the appetizer for Caufield. In overtime, he would get a stretch pass from Ty Emberson at the Penn State blue line and head in all alone. He made no mistake, beating the goaltender with a wicked wrist shot through the five hole.

The goals were Caufield’s 26th and 27th of the season, putting him nine ahead of anyone else in college hockey this season. He continues to also lead the nation with 48 points in 29 games.

Caufield has a chance to put a cherry on top of a terrific college season with a Big Ten championship banner tonight. The Badgers will face Minnesota, who edged Michigan in overtime late last night. Minnesota were the top ranked team in the conference most of the season until the Badgers pulled ahead of them over the final weekend.

Caufield scored four goals and three assists for seven points in four games against Minnesota in the regular season.

Next weekend, the Habs most dangerous prospect will take part in the 16 team national playdowns. His Badgers are a lock to earn a ticket to the playdowns and have a chance to make some noise and possibly win a NCAA banner as well.

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They will be leaning on Caufield to carry them on that stage, much like they have been all season long. It’s worked out just fine so far, and there is no reason to doubt Caufield’s ability to lead this team to a national title.