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Caufield finds his groove

Habs prospect scored the first hat trick of his NCAA career on January 24

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - The hockey season has its ups and downs for most players in a given year, and while that may have been the case for Cole Caufield, the highly-touted Habs prospect has certainly found his groove of late.

Video: Habs prospect Cole Caufield answers fan questions

After being held off the scoresheet in a pair of games against Michigan State on January 17 and 18, the University of Wisconsin Badgers freshman notched the first hat trick of his NCAA career in a 6-4 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 24.

In an interview with Wisconsin announcer Brian Posick, Caufield's Badgers bench boss, Tony Granato, was excited about Caufield's busy night on the scoresheet.

"It was incredible. All three of the goals were beautiful. The first one, Dylan Holloway starts with a great finish to create the turnover for him to go in, and he makes a great move. The second one, the [Alex] Turcotte play was fantastic, and the other one was just a tremendous shot," shared the coach of Caufield's fifth multi-goal outing of the season.

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: 🚨🚨🚨 for @colecaufield 🎩🎩🎩 and most importantly... Badgers WIN!! pic.twitter.com/RIqhDh80Xe

Granato, a veteran of 13 NHL seasons, told Posick it seemed like the 19-year-old has turned a corner after encountering some intermittent scoring droughts in his rookie collegiate campaign.

"He looks like now, he has his feel back, that every time he shoots it, he's going to score. He had a little bit of a stretch where he was getting his chances and it was post and out, or it was off the goalie's knob. You could see a little bit of frustration that they weren't quite going in for him. Now, he's back in a little bit of a rhythm," outlined Granato of Caufield, who added an assist the night after his hat trick in a 5-2 loss to the Irish. "When you get a goal-scorer hot and feeling good about himself, generally they go on a pretty good run. That's what, hopefully, Cole will do for us."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: The goal-scoring secret of @colecaufield?"I���ve always kind of loved that part of the game. I enjoy it more than other players. Just thinking how to score more than just shooting���."He stops by to talk with @Brian_Posick in this week's Badger Hockey Digest. pic.twitter.com/GbKTn8MhH4

Caufield joined Posick later in the segment, and spoke of the influence his grandfather, Wayne - who spent three seasons in the Eastern Hockey League before skating with the USHL's Milwaukee Admirals in 1975-76 - and father, Paul - who scored 72 goals over two seasons with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point - have had on his career.

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: Top. Shelf. 👀😱@colecaufield always leaves us searching for words#OnWisconsin | #Badgers pic.twitter.com/40minepljl

Hockey talent seems to just be in the Caufield blood, and the Stevens Point, WI native said there were no other big secrets as to where his knack for lighting the lamp came from.

"My dad just gave me a pretty simple curve growing up. He never really taught me any tricks to do it. Just shooting in the driveway, or basically anywhere I could, in the lobby of the rink, just picking things up by myself. I've always loved that part of the game. I enjoy it more than other players: thinking how to score more than how to just shoot it," described Caufield, who leads the Badgers with 26 points (16G, 10A) in 24 games in 2019-20. "There are many ways to score goals now and it'll only get harder from here, but there's always more room to grow and more ways to put yourself in better situations to score."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: Oh these two... 🤩@Turcotte__71 with the saucy feed to @colecaufield for his second of the night!Watch live at: https://t.co/SOeSx3H72J#OnWisconsin | #Badgers pic.twitter.com/OymIaQR8yy

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: 🚨The Captain to the Rook for his first career 𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐓𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐊🚨Congrats @colecaufield 👏👏👏Watch live at: https://t.co/SOeSx3H72J#OnWisconsin | #Badgers pic.twitter.com/vbOi9KJKYy

Caufield and the Badgers take on the Minnesota Gophers at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and again on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. (all times CT)

Photo credit: Wisconsin Athletics

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