It couldn’t have been scripted any better for the Habs’ Blue Chip draft pick Cole Caufield when he made his professional debut Friday night in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Before he even hit the ice for warm-up, Caufield and the team were watching as the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Committee announced that the University of Wisconsin Badger was the 2021 recipient of the Hobey Baker Trophy.
In the game, Caufield checked off several pro firsts as he notched his first goal, which was also his first power play tally, earned his first assist and his second goal stood as his first game-winning goal. The evening was capped off with Caufield earning First Star of the game honours.
The rookie was on the starting five so he could get props from his teammates and he settled in quickly to the pace of the game at the professional level.
Caufield’s first goal came at 1:28 of the second and pulled the Rocket even at 1-1. Caufield stepped into a pass from Jordan Weal with a wicked one-timer to beat Marlies’ goalie Joseph Woll for his keepsake tally. “I couldn’t have drawn it up any better,” Cole Caufield said. “It was a great pass, we had the puck in the zone for a while and obviously I was just lucky to finish it and it felt good for sure.”
Kenny Agostino gave the Marlies a 2-1 lead at 2:41of the second but at the 9:12 mark captain Xavier Ouellet pulled Laval even at 2-2 with Caufield earning his first assist. Ryan Poehling gave the Rocket their first lead of the night as the game went into the break with Laval up 3-2.
Play had barely resumed to start the third period when Agostino notched his second goal of the game 25 seconds in to knot the score at 3-3. Caufield’s game-winning marker came when Gustav Olofsson sent him racing in on Woll. Caufield fired at Woll, who made the save but Caufield gathered in his own rebound and roofed it to put Laval up 4-3. Yannick Veilleux potted the empty-netter to seal the win for Laval.
Of his first game in the pros, “So much fun,” Caufield said. “Hockey is the best thing to do in the world. Anytime I can get out there, I had the best time and it always feels a little bit better when you win.”