KIPPENS — Kristen Cooze believes a positive attitude goes a long way when a team is going through a rebuilding process.
A 20-year-old native of Kippens, Cooze is studying chemistry at Mount Allison University where she is a third-year member of the women’s hockey team in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) seven-team setup.
The Mounties are off to a slow start with three wins, six regulation defeats and four overtime losses, positioning them in sixth spot heading into the holiday break.
Not exactly a record to be bragging about, but Cooze has been around the block for a couple of years and knows life in the AUS takes an adjustment period. She took one look around the dressing room at the start of the 2012-13 campaign and realized there were a number of fresh faces in the mix this time around.
“You got to get used to the higher level of hockey and our systems, but I think the next half will be better,” she said of the new players.
Cooze hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for the game despite the challenges and she is looking at the bright side of things.
“I liked how we improved as we went along and we weren’t negative,” she said.
“We were always thinking about the game like we were going to win it.”
Halfway through last season, the Mounties decided to give the hard-working forward a change of scenery, moving her to the blue-line in an effort to provide the team with a defender who had a knack for moving the puck forward.
If the Mounties want to make a push for a playoff berth in the second half, Cooze believes it will only happen if the team can improve upon its anemic offence.
“We haven’t scored that many goals,” she said. “We’ve been having close games but we haven’t been able to score, which is why we’ve lost in overtime so many times.”
After notching one goal and three assists in three games, Cooze is content to be home with family and friends for the holidays.
There won’t be too much indulgence in her favourite foods during the break because life goes on for those high-performance athletes who are focused on being their best.
“You still have to put in hard work during Christmas, too,” she said. “But it’s still nice to be home and have friends and family just to hang out with.”
The Mounties return to action Jan. 12.