The Carstar Okotoks Bisons have been on a roll ever since losing their first game in the playoffs to the High River Brewing Co. Flyers, winning six games in a row to cash in their Heritage Junior B (HJHL) finals appearance.

Bisons had a bye into the second round where they would put the Flyers away in four games winning the series 3-1. After that, they would make easy work of the Rocky Rams sweeping them in the five-game series.

While the Herd completely pounded their adversaries with shots, it's the small defensive plays that have also helped them reach the HJHL finals. Head coach Brad Cobb explained how the defensive structure is a component of their game plan.

"We make sure that our defence is taking care of our end of the ice, that we are playing the full 200-foot game. Managing the puck is how we defend well. We make sure that if we don't have the puck on our sticks that we put it in good areas where we can get it back and a low percentage chance for the opposition to score," Cobb said.

Cobb expects that more shots could come towards the net of Bisons goaltender Grady Nicholas than in the previous series but expects Nicholas to be at the top of his game against the Sylvan Lake Wranglers.

"It's difficult to play goalie for us, especially this year, because you can go a lot of minutes without seeing any shots and then you can get a high quality one and you got to be ready," he said.

Grady Nicholas cool as a cucumber before game 3 vs Rams.Grady Nicholas cool as a cucumber before game 3 vs Rams.

"He's found a way towards the end of the year for sure to have that mindset and to stay focused. He's obviously won Goalie of the Year this year and has done a tremendous job. He knows he's only going to get so many shots, so you better be dialed in."

While they don't let many shots get pass their defencemen, they have been relentless in making sure the puck is finding its way through the opposing defenders.

"It's one of our goals that we set out at the beginning of the year is to make sure we are outshooting our opponent. We put a target number per game that we want to hit, the last few games have exceeded that," Cobb explained.

"It's the way, the system we play, the strategy on our shot selection makes it easy to get those 40 plus shots a game. That's kind of the goal we try and shoot for, if we can get anywhere from 15 to 18 shots per period, chances are you are going to outplay your opponent and you are going to win more games than you lose on a percentage side. That's what has kind of worked for us the past three years."

Cobb who has been the head coach of the Bisons for the past three years has been able to bring them to the HJHL finals every season during his tenure. He has been able to get the most out of his players and relies on all of them, rather than just one or two players to do the heavy lifting.

Jady Shigehiro winning a draw for the Bisons.Jady Shigehiro winning a draw for the Bisons.

"It makes it very difficult for an opposition coach to line match against. When you have that balance spread throughout your lineup and that mentality throughout the line up, your shot selections are going to be high quality and on net all the time, it makes it tough to have a coaching strategy to beat you," he said.

Cobb and the Bisons are excited to bring on the Sylvan Lake Wranglers and have a feeling they match up well. Both games they played against the Wranglers; the Herd found a way to win. With the first meeting winning in a shootout back in October, followed by a 6-1 victory in February.

The HJHL finals start on Saturday night (March. 16) as the Bisons host the Wranglers at Murray Arena with a 7:30 puck drop.