Canadiens' Cole Caufield Gets Much-Needed Boost In World Championship Round-Robin Finale

Cole Caufield's four-point performance against Poland could be a huge confidence boost before playoff round begins.
Poland v United States - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia
Poland v United States - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia / PressFocus/MB Media/GettyImages

The usually cheerful Cole Caufield didn't have much to smile about through his first six games of the World Championship. It started with a poor outing in their first game against Sweden, with the United States taking the loss and Caufield's spot on the first line broken up after a poor game from him, Brady Tkachuk, and Trevor Zegras. The young sniper needed something to go his way before the playoff round began, and he got the boost in a big way with a four-point outing against Latvia in the round-robin finale.

Caufield had just four points in the team's first six games, including a poor outing where he was a -1 with zero points in a 10-1 win over Kazakhstan. A lesser player would have let his confidence shatter after failing to get on the board on a point night against Kazakhstan, but Caufield kept his head down and ground out four points against Latvia.

Caufield was a star at the USA NTDP, but his international run since those days has been subpar. He had just seven points in 12 career games at the World Juniors and hoped this tournament would keep him on the Team USA radar for the upcoming Four Nations Faceoff and 2026 Winter Olympics. With the brass watching the first six games, Caufield did nothing but play himself off the roster. However, the four-point performance against Latvia and a possible hot streak beginning before the playoff round could eliminate those concerns.

Cole Caufield's Four-Point Night Against Latvia

Caufield saved his best for last when the USA took the ice for their round-robin finale. The performance eliminated Latvia from playoff contention, a year after their surprising bronze medal victory.

Caufield and Tkachuk connected on the game's first goal, with Caufield executing a perfect drop pass that Tkachuk deposited into the top corner. He added another assist later in the first when he found Zach Werenski driving to the slot.

Caufield scored his first goal of the night when Matt Boldy found him in the slot on an early second-period powerplay. Caufield accepted the pass and fired a shot low-glove past the Latvian netminder to give the USA a 3-0 lead.

Caufield added his second goal of the game on a wraparound in the third period to put the USA up 5-3. Joel Farabee added an empty netter to seal the game and move USA to a 5-2 record.

USA's Tournament Future

The United States finished second in Pool B thanks to their tournament-opening loss to Sweden. The seeding will give them a quarterfinal matchup with the host team Czechia. The game will be played in Prague, which is sure to be a madhouse, and Czechia's recent additions won't make life any easier for the Americans.

No country benefitted more from the NHL Playoffs' second-round results than Czechia. They left three spots open on their roster for potential additions, and they were graced with the presence of David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha, and Martin Necas.

The playoff round won't be easy for the USA, but a red-hot Caufield could increase their chances of getting a couple wins and bringing home a gold medal.