Early Storm


VALENCIAButler was coming off an 18-day layoff, but coach Mike Guentner wasn't worried — not with this year's team. 
The Tornado scored three goals in a 2:01 span early in the Monday's PIHL Class AAA game against Hempfield and cruised to a 7-4 victory at the Ice Connection. 

“Even before the game, that was not a concern,” Guentner said. “That's the great part of this team. This was a must-win game. Hempfield's a good opponent. These are the teams we have to beat to get to the playoffs.” 
The slow start for the Spartans was something that it could ill-afford, especially after a rough go to the beginning of their season. 
“We're definitely capable of scoring,” Hempfield coach Dennis Zeravica said. “We had a lot of shots (40), but we had a slow start to the game and everyone seemed to put their head down. Everyone was in a funk. We got in the locker room (after the second period) and we regrouped.” 
Matt Tomasovic gave the Tornado a quick lead when he scored the first of his three goals of the game just 1:26 into the contest. Tomasovic took a Dalton Scott pass, maneuvered across the front of the goal before burying a shot past Alex Androkites. 

Tanner Chuba doubled the lead 47 seconds later off passes from Joseph DiMartino and Tony Harpel, then Tomasovic followed with a deflection off a Scott shot for an early 3-0 advantage with 13:33 left in the first period. 

Tanner Gilliland scored off a helper from Tyler Hensel with 58.1 seconds left in the first period to stake the Tornado (3-2) to a 4-0 lead. 
Gilliland tallied his second goal of the night off a DiMartino pass 6:51 into the second frame before Hempfield (0-5-1) broke through when Channing Gorscak rifled a shot past Butler goalie Logan Rothbauer. 
Butler responded with goals by Chuba and Tomasovic within 36 seconds of each other for a 7-1 lead with 1:47 to go in the second. 
“The gaps between the good shifts are getting smaller,” Guentner said. “We're playing some good periods of solid play. We're close to playing a full game. We haven't hit our full stride yet.”


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Butler's No. 19 Tanner Gilliland and Hempfield's No. Justin Bartus battle for control of the puck at ice connection in Valencia. 

Hempfield finished strong, registering three goals — by Justin Bartus, Gorscak and Andrew Koziara — in a 3:03 span, the last with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. 
“Truth be told, we were trying to make some adjustments in the game,” Guentner said. “We don't want to be one-dimensional like last year. We want to try and be competitive and it backfired. 
“We were never in a position last year to make in-game adjustments. We were in a good position today. 
“This was a nice game early in the year,” Guentner added. 
And a good start is just what the Tornado needed. They've already tripled their win total from last year. 
“The objective early in the season was to string together a lot of wins,” Guentner said. “Everyone knew we would be better than last year, but having wins to back that up is great. 
“We have a big game against Norwin Thursday and we're going in 3-2 instead of 2-3. You can start to see us as a contender and a top-tier team in the section.” 
Notes: Rothbauer finished with 36 saves, while Androkites, who played the first two periods, was credited with 24 saves and Coffer stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period.