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Knight: 'It's impossible to stop every single one of his shots'

Goaltender Spencer Knight is probably the best person to ask about Cole Caufield's shot

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - Spencer Knight knows all too well the kind of damage that can be done by a Cole Caufield Shot.

The Florida Panthers' first-round pick (13th overall) in 2019 faced more than his fair share of them the last few years while the two were teammates on the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP).

Who better, then, to ask about Caufield's shot than the goalie who's faced him the most in his career up until now?

Knight affirms that Caufield is one of the players most devoted to his sport - and one of the toughest to face.

"It's impossible to stop every single one of his shots in practice, that's for sure. He wants to get better badly and he wants to improve. He's one of the hardest workers, but at the same time he always does it with a smile on his face," outlined Knight, who's currently tending goal for the Boston College Eagles. "You never see him not smiling; he's always the happiest kid. It just makes going to the rink that much easier and having a guy like him in the locker room, it's always really fun."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: It's never been done before. First Badger in the modern era (since 1963) with multiple goals in his first two games. @colecaufield pic.twitter.com/XdnMIugcXV

Even in practice, the Canadiens' first-round pick (15th overall) in 2019 was never lacking in the enthusiasm department.

In fact, he was constantly a threat around Knight's net.

"He wouldn't stop until I had full control of the puck or it's in the back of the net," described his former teammate with a laugh. "That just shows you how people like that are paying attention to details all the time. It's just small things like that that make him really great."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: 6 goals. 3 games. Cole Caufield is kind of good at hockey 👀 pic.twitter.com/vUNnFxdaau

The two teammates each took their turn adding their names to the American program's record books, with Knight setting a new high with 59 career wins and Caufield breaking the goal-scoring record with 126 tallies.

Knight is himself a first-rate prospect with the Panthers. In June, the Darien, CT native became the first goalie drafted in the top-20 since Andrei Vasilevskiy (19th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012.

The 6-foot-3, 197-pound backstop seems like the ideal candidate to comment on the quality of Caufield's shot.

"He gets it off very quickly and he's very accurate as well. He just finds ways to score goals. His release is really hard to read," acknowledged Knight. "He's able to put it in different spots. He just know where to shoot. It's a special talent that he has. His shot is really impressive."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: Cole Caufield's nation leading 8th goal 🔥 pic.twitter.com/taVZz665PZ

That said, Caufield's good friend and former teammate added that it's important to not overlook what else the 5-foot-7, 162-pound forward brings to the table.

"He knows how to score. It's just a natural ability that not everybody has. We're seeing him developing into a real complete player. There are parts of his game that are very underrated," mentioned Knight. "He has really good vision; he can pass the puck very well. I think he's becoming a really good hockey player."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: No words. @colecaufield 😵 pic.twitter.com/dTpbcJ5keo

Roommates

Throughout their careers in the USNTDP, the two teammates were paired up to share a room when the team was on the road.

That gave Knight the opportunity to get to know the sniper well off the ice, too.

And after spending countless nights watching and talking about hockey, the thing that stood out the most for the Florida prospect was Caufield's positive attitude.

"We were always putting hockey games on the TV. He's just a great guy off the ice. He's always happy. He's never negative," recounted the 18-year-old netminder. "Having a guy like that in the locker room, it actually goes very far away, especially when there's time of adversity. Just to have someone that is always positive and a leader."

Caufield took advantage of being around his goalie friend to talk strategy in order to improve his scoring talents.

Knight humbly offered him some tips, but admits the Habs prospect doesn't really need any assistance on the subject.

"He doesn't really need much help from me to score goals. He's pretty good at that," cracked Knight. "We just talked about small things like where's the hardest spot for a goalie. But I mean, he just score goals. It's just play and simple."

Tweet from @fswisconsin: THAT WAS FAST 😱Cole Caufield scores 53 seconds in to get @BadgerMHockey on the board!📱 https://t.co/ar4DJTKVwn pic.twitter.com/QpQNnqPw9R

First showdown

Now that they're plying their trade in the NCAA ranks, Caufield and Knight faced each other for the first time on October 11 in Massachusetts.

Knight and Boston College emerged victorious against Caufield and the University of Wisconsin Badgers by a 5-3 score.

Despite the loss, the Montreal prospect managed to beat his good friend twice for his first two goals at the collegiate level.

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: The first of many for @colecaufield🔥 #Badgers pic.twitter.com/S0maw3RzFm

The two American players linked up after the game, and Caufield had no choice but to confess.

"It's kind of funny, because we were talking after the game. He scored twice, but we won. I asked him: 'On the first goal, did you whiff on that shot?' And he answered: 'Yeah, I completely whiffed.' I was like, 'Ahh.' Even when he whiffs on a shot it goes bardown," shared Knight. "It just shows how talented he is."

Tweet from @BadgerMHockey: Another beauty by @colecaufield His second as a #Badger3-4, Eagles with three to play in the second pic.twitter.com/2gmXjkJiZT

Knight and Caufield should have another chance to be teammates again from December 26-January 5 at the IIHF World Junior Championship, which takes place in Trinec and Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Photo credit: Dave Arnold/Boston College

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