11/06/2012 11:01 PM
Story By: Stuart McComish
HAMILTON, Ont. – Brendan Gallagher had an eventful week.
The 20-year-old Hamilton Bulldogs right winger contributed two goals and one assist in two American Hockey League games against the Rochester Americans and also took part in his first professional fight. He also found time to launch a project to raise money for prostate cancer research.
Gallagher has recorded three goals and three assists for six points in eight games this season, tied for the team lead in scoring with veteran Blake Geoffrion. Gallagher got his week started Friday night at Rochester in a game the Bulldogs would eventually lose 3-2 via shootout. The Bulldogs were down 2-0 early in the third period and had just surrendered a power-play goal when Gallagher, stationed between the faceoff circles, redirected a point shot by Brendon Nash.
“They had just scored and that was an important shift for our team,” Gallagher said after a recent practice at Copps Coliseum as the Bulldogs prepared to host the Syracuse Crunch at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first of two games this week between the teams. “Nash did a good job shooting the puck and I was able to get my stick on it and tip it in.”
Earlier in that game Gallagher dropped the gloves in a spirited tussle with Rochester left winger Frederick Roy.
“Every season I have two or three fights,” said Gallagher. “It’s not something I am very good at so I just stay away from it. But at that time, I felt it was the right thing for me to do for the team to help get us going. He got me once early and it stunned me, but I thought I came back at the end.”
The North Division rivals met the following night at Hamilton. Following the script from the previous night, the Bulldogs again trailed 2-0 into the third when Geoffrion cut the deficit to one at 9:42, sparking a flurry of four goals in 5:19 as the Bulldogs skated to a 4-3 win. Gallagher tied the game at 12:04, slipping a feed from linemate Patrick Holland under the left arm of Americans goaltender Connor Knapp.
“We were down 2-0 here,” said Gallagher, who has been skating in recent games with Holland, a right shot who plays left wing, and centre Michael Bournival. “We had come back the night before so we knew we could do it again. We kept chipping away. We got the first goal and started rolling from there. Bournival and Holland did a great job working on that play. Holland threw it to me in the slot and I scored.”
Gallagher, who earned an assist on Mike Blunden’s power play goal at 13:54, has found great success with fellow 20-year-olds Holland and Bournival as the trio has combined for five goals and 10 assists for 15 points this season.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Gallagher, who starred for four seasons with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, of his linemates. “We’re all young and the same age. We get along really well. Every game we try and work hard and learn from our experiences. We have a lot of fun playing together and right now we are contributing to the team. It’s great that the coaches are showing confidence in us and putting us on the ice in all situations. You don’t want to let them down and we want to take advantage of every chance we get.”
Gallagher was a fifth-round choice of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Bournival, captain of the Quebec Major Junior League’s Shawinigan Cataractes when they won the Memorial Cup last May, was a third-round puck of the Colorado Avalanche in 2010 while Holland was chosen by the Calgary Flames in the seventh round in 2010 from the Tri-City Americans of the WHL.
“Bournival works so hard and is so quick, he makes it tough on opposing defencemen,” said Gallagher. “He makes sure they don’t have much time. Holland has great vision. When he gets the puck you have to get ready because he is going to make a play with it.”
Gallagher leads the Bulldogs in shots on goal with 30, recording 10 in a 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Toronto Marlies on Oct. 26.
“In junior I could take a lot of shots, I was always able to finds chances. That game against Toronto, the puck always seemed to be coming to me and I was always in a position to shoot it. I only scored once in that game so my shooting percentage wasn’t good. Shots are a big part of my game, I try and get the puck on net and create as much havoc as I can.”
Gallagher is also producing off the ice, continuing a project he began with the Giants in 2010 after his 74-year-old grandfather Matt Gallagher passed away due to prostate cancer. Gallagher will donate $250 for every Bulldogs win and $20 for each Giants victory in November to the Canadian Cancer Society.
“I always remember him coming to my minor hockey games, standing there with $20 for me after the game. So two years ago after every win we got in Vancouver I donated $20 to prostate cancer. I did some charity events and we ended up raising a total of $`15,000. This year I am going to continue it and since I have the opportunity to donate a little more I will give $250 for every win we get in November. I don’t want to forget my roots so I will contribute to every Giants win this month too.”
Fans can help Brendan raise money for prostate cancer research by visiting the following website: http://bit.ly/TwVq9P