While racing for the puck the Queens' forward Jayna Kitchen

While racing for the puck the Queens' forward Jayna Kitchen

Education decision going well for Cote

Two years ago Brandin Cote decided to hang up his skates, in terms of making a career out of hockey, and work on his education degree.

Cougars 2 Queens 0

Two years ago Brandin Cote decided to hang up his skates, in terms of making a career out of hockey, and work on his education degree.

Part of that decision was to eventually get into coaching.

And it’s working out perfectly for the 30-year-old Swift Current native.

Cote is in his third year of a four-year education degree at RDC and this year was invited to work with the hockey Queens under the direction of Trevor Keeper.

Because of it all he was one of two recipients of a $4,000 scholarship through Hockey Alberta’s Future Leaders program. He received a basic $1,000 scholarship, along with seven others, and an additional $3,000 distinguished scholarship award. Cody Reynolds of Sylvan Lake also received the $4,000.

“It’s for college students interested in coaching and having anything to do with hockey and going to school,” said Cote, following the Queens 2-0 loss to the Mount Royal University Cougars in Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League play at the Arena Thursday.

“I applied for it and did a couple of camps during the summer. There were some coaching tasks and written tasks and an interview process and I was fortunate enough to be one of the two to get it,” he explained. “It’s a good honour. I finished my playing career when I injured my knee a couple of years ago while playing in Europe and decided to go back to school and this helps.”

He met Keeper last year at RDC.

“He was one of my instructors and I got to know him a little bit and he was with the Red Deer Minor Hockey mentorship program and I was fortunate to have him ask me to help out this year. He has a lot of knowledge and experience and a good guy to work with and learn from.”

This year is his first time coaching and it’s everything he hoped.

“You have to have a lot of patience, so it’s different than playing, but I’m really enjoying working with the girls. Our record doesn’t indicate the growth of this team since the beginning of the year, but we’re a young group who are eager to learn.”

Cote played last season with the Bentley Generals, but packed it in this year.

“I’m taking my third-year practicum and with the schooling and coaching my plate is full,” he said. “It’s time to start the transition from playing to coaching.”

Cote, who works with the forwards, has one year remaining at RDC to get his degree to teach in middle school.

On Thursday the Queens showed the problem that’s faced them most of the season — a lack of offence.

Then again they were up against one of the most experienced teams in the ACAC. Mount Royal has 15 veteran players, including seven in their fourth and fifth years. The Queens dressed four veterans.

RDC started slow in the first period as they were outshot 14-5 and trailed 1-0 on a goal by Taralynn Suzuki.

“I thought we started OK, but we were hemmed in when they send in two players hard on our defence and there was a three or four minute stretch when we didn’t move the pick quickly to our forwards and got caught chasing the puck in our end a bit,” said Keeper. “But one of the main reasons for the difference in shots was that they had six power plays. When you’re killing penalties a lot of the time it allowed them to generate a lot of shots.”

Queens did allow one powerplay goal — that on a tip in by Crissy Hodgson in the second period — but overall did a good job on the penalty kill, led by goaltender Camille Trautman.

“We can’t complain about the effort. Five-on-five, and even killing penalties, the girls worked hard and were doing a lot of things right. The frustrating thing was that we wanted to compete and forecheck hard and at times we’d win those one-on-one battles and get a penalty. The next time there wasn’t one. But you have to fight through the inconsistencies and keep your head up.”

The Queens had a couple of good chances, especially late with Trautman on the bench, but couldn’t beat Cougars third-year netminder Kendall Kilgour.

“She’s very good and you need second and third chances to beat her,” said Keeper.

The Queens finished with 14 shots on Kilgour while Trautman faced 27.

The teams complete their pre-Christmas schedule tonight at MRU.