By Mike Mastovich
For The Tribune-Democrat
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Greg Gallagher’s name won’t appear near the top of the Johnstown Chiefs’ scoring list.
It isn’t close to the bottom, either.
The second-year Chiefs defenseman isn’t known for a ferocious slap shot, and he isn’t labeled as a sniper from the blue line.
Nor is Gallagher considered a defensive liability.
What makes Gallagher special in Johnstown? Maybe it’s the fact that he’s not too flashy. Gallagher simply does his job.
The Hobart College product doesn’t mind the anonymity that often accompanies a steady performance on the blue line.
“It’s just kind of the way I play. Nothing bothers me too much,” said Gallagher, who has a goal and nine points in 25 games. “We work well as a unit. It’s fun playing with the six D and that makes it easier. It doesn’t matter who is on the ice. Good things are going to happen.”
Chiefs coach Ian Herbers isn’t worried about individual stats. Herbers prefers wins over losses, and the second-year head coach feels that having Gallagher in the lineup gives Johnstown a better shot of holding onto the North Division lead.
“His biggest asset is his consistency,” Herbers said. “You’re going to get the same game shift-in and shift-out from him. You’ll have a few lows here or there and a few highs here or there, but for the most part I know what I’m going to get from him every night.”
Last season it took a while for Gallagher to find a home in Johnstown.
He began the 2007-08 season in Cincinnati but was released a month into the schedule. Four days after that, Pensacola claimed him off waivers, but the Ice Pilots released Gallagher a few weeks later.
Herbers claimed the defenseman off waivers on Dec. 27.
The third chance gave Gallagher new life.
After he had no goals and two points in his first 34 games with Johnstown, Gallagher finished the regular season on what for him was a flurry, scoring two goals and seven points in his final 11 games. He added two assists in six Kelly Cup playoff contests.
At 24, Gallagher is considered one of the Chiefs’ more experienced players.
“Being a second-year guy here you know the ropes a little bit,” Gallagher said. “That definitely helps. Obviously you can help some of the younger guys. You’ve been in that situation once so you know how it goes.
“We have a comfortable locker room and it’s a fun atmosphere to play in. That helps out.”
Gallagher has been effective at times on the power play. His lone goal came with the man advantage. He also has a power-play assist and two short-handed assists.
“Greg comes out and skates everyday and gives you everything he has every shift,” Herbers said. “You know what you’re going to get from him. He’s very consistent. In the dressing room guys enjoy having him around. I’m able to use him in any kind of situation, power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5 or a 4-on-4.”