Bishop Shanahan scores three goals in 47 seconds to dismantle Downingtown West

DOWNINGTOWN — Before Bishop Shanahan could blink; the Eagles were facing a deficit against Downingtown West.

A quick goal by Dave Gallagher gave the Whippets plenty of momentum, but the early hole didn’t faze Shanahan.

Not a team that has won 18 straight Ches-Mont League games, including the last 13 on their home grass.

“To be honest, I didn’t even see the play,’ said Alex Wagner. “It was a bummer being down 1-0, but we knew to pick it up. We just had to get the offense clicking.’

It clicked, almost as fast as the opening goal by Gallagher.

Wagner, Eli Goforth and Ryan McNulty combined to score three goals for Shanahan in 47 seconds during the first quarter. The offensive jolt paced Shanahan to a 9-3 win over Downingtown West at Bishop Shanahan High School Tuesday afternoon.

The win kept the Eagles (6-0 league, 8-1 overall) a half-game ahead of Avon Grove for first place in the Ches-Mont and was their 19th consecutive league win. The Whippets (4-2 league, 5-5 overall) have lost four of their last five games.

Shanahan’s offensive barrage with less than eight minutes to go in the first quarter was the medicine it needed to eliminate all of West’s early momentum.

The Eagles have been searching for offense since the beginning of the season. They showed the breakthrough head coach John Heisman has been waiting for in that 47-second span.

“We have guys that can score and make good decisions,’ Heisman said. “Once we allowed that early goal, we didn’t panic and didn’t falter. We just took over in the midfield and took care of business.’

Wagner scored a transition goal to get Shanahan on the board with 7:57 left in the first quarter that tied the game 1-1. Just 22 seconds later, Pat Corcoran dodged a West defender and found Eli Goforth in the crease to give Shanahan the lead for good with 7:36 left in the first.

After a quick turnover, McNulty fired a one-timer past West goalie Carson White to put the Eagles up 3-1. With 7:11 left in the first, Shanahan turned a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

That was all the Eagles needed to control the flow of the game.

“We weren’t going to get down on ourselves,’ Goforth said. “We wanted to come back quickly, which we did. Once we got to 3-1, there was no looking back.’

Wagner finished with four goals as he became the first player in the Ches-Mont to 40 for the year. Over the last two seasons, Wagner has 99 goals (59 in 2014) and has 117 in his career.

The junior has become a dominant force on the Shanahan attack since he stepped on the field as a freshman two years ago. Wagner has played with most of his Shanahan teammates since 5th grade. The chemistry they have developed on the field has attributed to his success.

“My teammates are awesome,’ Wagner said. “It’s hard to explain how good they are and how they’re able to feed me the ball. With them, I don’t have to dodge that much and get the ball in the crease. It’s pretty sweet.’

One of teammates Wagner has been playing with for years was Goforth, who finished with a career-high three goals on the afternoon. Goforth is starting to get comfortable as a starting attackman, with nine goals on the season.

“I’m definitely gaining more confidence,’ Goforth said. “My team is doing a great job of finding me and our defense is playing amazing, especially in transition giving the ball to our offense.’

“We gave him the game ball today,’ Heisman said. “He finished when he had to and took care of the ball. We were real happy with his play.’

Gallagher finished with two goals for the Whippets and has 25 on the season, the fifth player in the Ches-Mont to hit the mark. White had 14 saves in a performance Heisman called “phenomenal.’

Shanahan has responded since its lone blemish to Penncrest with four straight wins. The Eagles are a young team, but still remain the defending Ches-Mont champions.

That could put a lot of pressure on Shanahan. Instead, it’s used as motivation.

“We got the bullseye on our back,’ Heisman said. “It’s tough to get where we got over the last few years, but even tougher to stay there. Everyone wants to knock us off the ladder. As far as I’ve seen, we’ve been getting everybody’s best game.’

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