Gallagher Nets Hat Trick as OA Slips Past Taunton

By Jarett Leonard, HockomockSports.com Contributor
BROCKTON, Mass. – All three goals of Owen Gallagher’s hat trick proved pivotal for Oliver Ames, as he gave the Tigers an early lead, extended the advantage and later secured a 5-3 win over Taunton.
Just 1:47 into the game, Gallagher found some daylight with a backhander from the left circle that beat Taunton goaltender Justin Chappell. On a shorthanded two-on-one rush six minutes later, Gallagher again found the back of the net with a wrist shot from the left side. Up 4-3 with just over a minute left in the game, Gallagher netted his third on a one timer from the high slot to seal the win.
“It’s so well deserved,” Oliver Ames head coach Mark Homer said of Gallagher’s hat trick. “He’s not the biggest guy on the ice but he has such a high hockey IQ, he makes the right plays offensively and defensively, and he never wants to sit. He works really hard, it doesn’t matter who he’s with out there, and it’s well deserved.”
After the first period ended, with OA holding a 2-0 lead, a small skirmish broke out between the two teams, and Taunton carried some energy from it over to the second period. Cam Carnes, who had his helmet taken off in the incident, beat Oliver Ames goaltender Zach Walsh five-hole from the left circle to reduce the lead to one.
“The end of the first period they were a little fired up because of the after-the-whistle play,” Taunton head coach Kris Metea said. “They came out firing and got that early goal from Cam Carnes, an emotional leader out there.”
But just when it appeared the momentum was about to swing in Taunton’s favor, Matt Mancini restored the two-goal lead for Oliver Ames, burying a rebound on the doorstep from a Ben Litwack shot.
“That next goal is so, so important,” Homer said. “If we score the goal and they don’t, it changes the momentum of the game. It’s just a matter of keeping an even balance. You score goals, you get excited, you let up goals, you get down. It’s a matter of our guys just learning how to keep that even balance through the game.”
Taunton would not go easily, though, as defensemen Nick Terry and Mike Volkmann each scored on wrist shots from the high slot to tie the game after two periods. Volkmann’s tying goal came with under 45 seconds left in the period.
“It’s good to show resolve,” Metea said. “We did the same thing against [Coyle & Cassidy] to get back into the game. Now we just have to take the next step, from falling behind to come back and tie it and then to take the lead and keep it.”
Midway through the third period, Oliver Ames took advantage of Taunton’s aggressive play by creating a two-on-none rush, and freshman Max Ward netted the game-winning goal.
“There were high spots and low spots,” Homer said. “There are good things and bad things that happen during a game. Adversity is going to hit, it’s how you’re going to face that adversity. It’s the way the game is. The kids have done a good job the last couple of games where we’ve gotten a lead, we’ve let up the lead, we’ve been behind, but it’s a no give up attitude.”
Homer was impressed with his team’s resiliency after a two-goal lead vanished, but he was also surprised with Taunton’s improvement from previous seasons.
“Taunton was aggressive all night long,” Homer said. “They were aggressive in all the zones, they did a good job hitting, they did a good job crashing the net and keeping us from a lot of good opportunities. They did a really good job, it’s not the same Taunton team.”
With the win, Oliver Ames improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the league and will travel to Franklin on Wednesday. Taunton (5-2, 0-1 league) will travel to Fall River to face Apponequet in a non-league contest on Monday.

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Ryan Lanigan

Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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