BHA forward Nathan Cohen-Wallis scored the game winner against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings on Saturday (Feb. 11).
JORDAN SMALL RMO PHOTO
Banff Hockey Academy is moving on to the next round of the playoffs – a first in the junior B team’s history. Nathan Cohen-Wallis scored the game-winner in overtime to make it 5-4, as BHA disposed of the Strathmore Wheatland Kings in the best of three series on Saturday night (Feb. 11) at Banff Fenlands. BHA now faces the league best’s team, the Cochrane Generals, in the next round. Game 1 is Tuesday (Feb. 14) in Cochrane. “It feels amazing,” said forward Cohen-Wallis about his OT goal assisted by Noah Giese and Nick Koch on a two-on-one break. “Just trying to battle through everything, and the puck just pops like that, it was like a Christmas present, I feel like a little kid opening that present on Christmas day.” Along with Cohen-Wallis, BHA goal scorers were River Ross, Kenta Tanaka, Mitchell Wainman and Lachlan Fahmy. The Bears were 47 seconds away from winning in regulation, but with an empty net, Strathmore’s top scorer, Brooker Pretty Youngman, beat BHA goalie Dominik Vollenweider. It set up the OT win for BHA – a series victory that a handful of returning Bears had thought about for a year after Strathmore beat out BHA in last season’s postseason. “This year we came in not having it again - this series was ours,” said Cohen-Wallis. Goalie Vollenweider stopped 43 shots in the victory and has recorded back-to-back wins this playoffs. The 17-year-old from Switzerland is in a position he didn’t see himself being in at the beginning of the January. “I didn’t expect it, but if you have a chance or opportunity, just take it and just keep battling and be the best you can be,” said Vollenweider. BHA also made club history by defeating Strathmore and becoming the first junior b Bears team to win a HJHL playoff series. “I go back to my initial statement the guys after a week or two of practice, I believed this is going to be one of the best teams the BHA has ever had and that’s becoming true,” said head coach Bill Doherty.