SACO—Scarborough freshman Jacob Gross may not be big, but he scores big goals.
Gross scored both the tying and game winning goals Thursday as the Red Storm defeated South Portland, 3-1 at the MHG Ice Arena in Saco.
“He is just a little guy,” said Scarborough coach Norm Gagne. “When you have a freshman playing with the big boys boys its not easy, but he has handled it pretty well.”
Gross netted the go-ahead goal with 4:23 to play, taking a pass from Zach Pettengill and one timing it past South Portland goalie Dominic Desjardins.
“Zach did most of the work,” Gross said “He broke it out nice and fed it to me. I just finished the play.”
Gross’ first goal came in the second period, tying the score at one apiece. Pettengill and fellow wing Brian McKeown dug for the puck down low and found Gross in the middle. Gross who had worked free from a defender saw an opening on net and finished for the goal.
“He gets out muscled a lot but he is a feisty guy,” Gagne said. “He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there and that’s what I like about him.
The two goals gives Gross six on the season. Pettengill was credited with two assists, giving him five. He leads the team with 12 points.
South Portland had gotten on the board first, 6:30 into the opening period. The Red Riots’ forecheck forced a turnover and Tommy Ellis found Robert Hannigan for the 1-0 lead.
“We came out and got the first goal and looked pretty good,” South Portland coach Joe Robinson said. “Then we just died afterwards. They outworked us on both ends. Our forecheck was nonexistent other than on our goal.”
Jordan Bathe added a shorthanded goal with 2:21 remaining to all but seal the victory. After a South Portland turnover at the blue line, Bathe skated free towards the net. Desjardins got a piece of the shot, but it squirted just inside the post and into the net.
“He is using his speed,” Gagne said. “That is his strength.”
The victory was Scarborough’s second in as many nights. Wednesday the Red Storm defeated Kennebunk, 3-1, at Biddeford Ice Arena. Pettengill had two goals while Gross and McKeown had assists. Jack Rouselle scored an insurance goal in the third with an assist from Bathe.
‘We started off kind of slow with a really tough schedule,” Gross said. “ Right now is a big confidence booster though. If we can win Saturday it would be big—3 wins in a row.”
Scarborough started its season with only two wins in eight games, but five of their losses came to Biddeford, Thornton Academy and Falmouth, three of the top teams in the state. The Red Storm (4-6 and ninth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) play Edward Little in Saco Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
South Portland (4-5-1 and fourth in Western A) has been unable to win back-to-back games all season. Last week they lost to Falmouth, but bounced back to defeat Portland. The Red Riots will try and right the ship, again, Saturday at home against Kennebunk.