Icing a win
Gross goal reverses momentum for Butler in needed 5-2 hockey win over Upper St. Clair

By John Enrietto 
Eagle Sports Editor 

VALENCIA — Beware of the third period. 
Butler’s varsity hockey team has lost five games by two goals or less this season, most as a result of faded play in the final frame. 
So when
Upper St. Clair’s Quinn Giacobbe scored on a power play 27 seconds into the third period Monday night at the Ice Connection — pulling the Panthers within 3-1 — there was an uneasy feeling on the Golden Tornado bench. 
It didn’t last long. 
Only 56 seconds later, Sam Gross drilled a slapshot past USC goaltender Jonathan Bleier from just inside the blue line and
Butler went on to a 5-2 victory. 
“Momentum means so much in this game,”
Butler goaltender Nick Farmerie said. “That shot brought the momentum back to us again.” 
The Gross goal was his second of the game. 
“Coach has been wanting us to get more shots on goal,” Gross said. “I came across the line, had an open look and just cut it loose. It happened to go in.” 
The win was the Tornado’s second in three games as
Butler (3-7-1) is trying to rebound from a slow start this season. 
“Sam is a captain on this team, one of our leaders,”
Butler coach Cory Sakolsky said. “To win games, your best players need to make big plays. He made one there. 
“As far as I’m concerned, our playoffs started tonight. We needed this. We need to string some wins together.”
Butler built a 3-0 lead through two periods. Trevor Gilliland scored on a backhander less than three minutes into the game. Jerome Oliver and Gross added goals late in the second period. 
Ronan Miller assisted on each of the first three
Butler tallies. Farmerie stopped 22 of 24 USC shots, many from close range. 
“You need your goalie to make big saves with the game on the line and Nick did that tonight,” Gross said. 
A Derek Kopach goal pulled the Panthers (
2-7-1) within 4-2 with 6:09 remaining. USC pulled its goaltender for the extra attacker with just under four minutes to play. 
Farmerie robbed the visitors of a goal with a sprawling save. Moments later, Oliver fired the puck into the empty net from deep in his own end with
3:06 remaining to seal the victory. 
Upper St. Clair is winless in its past five games (0-4-1). 
“That save was a game-changer,” Sakolsky said. “If that goes in, you don’t know what happens.” 
Farmerie, a junior, is playing his first year of ice hockey. He is
3-5-1 on the year and had a goals-against average of 4.26 entering Monday’s game. 
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Farmerie said of playing hockey. “I figured I’d better go for it now while I’m still in high school. 
“I like facing a lot of shots. I tend to go cold if I haven’t faced any shots in a while.” 
USC scored the only power play goal of the night.
Butler was 0 for 5 on the power play. Gilliland hit the crossbar during a 37-second stretch in the first period when the Tornado had a two-man advantage. 
Gilliland has three goals in five games this season. Oliver has six goals in 10 games, Gross five goals in eight. 
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” Gross said. “We’re not giving up. We can go on a run and get into the playoffs.”