With a 4-1 win over the Providence Friars in the semifinals, Noah Cates and the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs will play in the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey Championship. Cates and his teammates will take on the UMass Amherst Minutemen, a squad that features probable Hobey Baker winner and Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar. UMass Amherst reached the championship thanks to a Marc Del Gaizo slap shot 15:18 into overtime of a 4-3 victory over the University of Denver.
Cates had nine goals and 14 assists in 39 games to produce the most points out of the freshmen on the Bulldogs’ roster. He was minus-1 in Minnesota-Duluth’s 2-1 overtime win over the Bowling Green State University Falcons in the first round, had a shot on goal and a plus-1 rating in a 3-1 decision over the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the quarterfinals, and an assist with two shots on goal in last night’s contest.
Taken 137th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Cates was taken in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Flyers after he posted 65 points in 25 games as the captain at Stillwater High School in Minnesota. After he produced seven points in 11 games for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers in 2017 after his high school career ended, he returned to the club for the 2017-18 season to pot 21 goals as part of a 55-point campaign in 60 games of work.
As for the game, University of Minnesota-Duluth won last year’s title and are appearing in their third straight championship game, as they are looking to become the NCAA’s first repeat champs since Denver (the school that beat them in 2017) won in 2004 and 2005. The Bulldogs are looking for their third title in school history and their third in the last nine seasons. As for UMass Amherst, this will be the Minutemen’s first appearance in the NCAA title game. The teams square off at 8:00pm on ESPN2.