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UMD men's hockey: Cates scores first NHL goal as more Bulldogs prepare for potential pro debuts

Ryan Fanti, Matt Anderson and Koby Bender could make their professional debuts in the coming weeks.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers left wing Noah Cates (49), the former Minnesota Duluth captain, celebrates his first NHL goal with right wing Owen Tippett (74) against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports
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DULUTH — Former Minnesota Duluth senior captain Noah Cates picked up his first NHL goal Tuesday with the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-2 home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Cates, playing in just his fourth NHL game since signing with the team following the conclusion of the Bulldogs' 2021-22 season, registered the first point of his NHL career on a one-timer from the slot after taking a feed from centerman Patrick Brown 17:35 into the first period to get the Flyers on the scoreboard.

A two-time captain at UMD, Cates signed with the Flyers within 24 hours of the Bulldogs’ 2021-22 season ending following a regional final loss to Denver. Philadelphia’s 2017 fifth-round draft pick made his NHL debut two days later at Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild before friends, family, his hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota, and his Bulldogs teammates.

The Flyers, who have been eliminated from postseason contention, have 12 games remaining in the regular season.

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Bulldog Pro Bites

Former UMD goaltender Ryan Fanti, who signed with the Edmonton Oilers after the conclusion of his junior season in 2021-22, began his amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the Bakersfield Condors on Monday. The Condors are the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate.

Fanti’s time in Bakersfield will likely be short due to academic commitments back at UMD, however, if he does get to make his professional debut this week, it could come in the same arena that he played his final games as a Bulldog. The Condors are scheduled to play the Colorado Eagles on Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland — the site of the NCAA regional a few weeks prior. The starting goaltender for the Eagles is former Bulldog Hunter Miska.

  • Cloquet native Koby Bender told the News Tribune’s Bulldog Insider Podcast this week that he will be signing an AHL deal with the Bridgeport Islanders, which is the top affiliate of the New York Islanders. That deal has yet to be officially announced.
  • On the same episode of Bulldog Insider (due out Thursday) fellow fifth-year senior Matt Anderson said he would be signing with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, and that signing became official on Tuesday. Anderson joins former UMD teammates Hunter Shepard and Jade Miller, who have been with the Stingrays all season long.
MORE BULLDOGS IN THE PROS COVERAGE:

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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