However, the 17-year old product of Sherwood Park, Alberta is starting to find his offensive game, notching two goals and four points in the last seven contests including the game-winning goal with just over two minutes left in Brandon’s 4-2 victory in Moose Jaw on December 15th.
Cooper, a sixth round pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, had 21 goals and 46 points in 34 games with Sherwood Park in the Alberta Midget Hockey League last season so there’s no doubt he has offensive potential.
Now, he may be finding it at the WHL level.
“I’ve just been working hard, and now I’m starting to get some chances,” said Cooper after Brandon’s practice in Red Deer on Saturday, “They come more often the harder you work.”
Cooper notched his third goal of the season in Friday’s home-ice loss to Moose Jaw, giving him two goals in Brandon’s last three games.
“I feel way different than at the start of the year. I’m starting to get some confidence,” added Cooper, “Lately, it’s been pretty good and I’m confident in my shot now.”
The 6-foot-0, 175 pound Cooper will also get the home province advantage as the Wheat Kings open a three-game Alberta road trip Sunday night in Red Deer.
Brandon will also visit Edmonton on Monday (New Year’s Eve) and Calgary on Wednesday before returning home.
The Wheat Kings will enter Sunday’s game sitting seven points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors for eighth-place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Chaff...F Tyler Coulter, who made his WHL debut with Brandon on Friday, made the trip West with the Wheat Kings as did F Quintin Lisoway...Team West opened the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec with a 4-0 loss to Sweden on Saturday. Ty Edmonds of the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals stopped 36 shots in Team West net. Team West will play Russia on Sunday...Team Pacific opened the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with an 8-7 overtime victory over Russia on Saturday. Wheat Kings’ F John Quenneville was held off the scoresheet in that contest. Team Pacific will have the day off on Sunday.