VALENCIA — Butler held a two-goal lead with eight minutes to play on Thursday night.
It turned out to be plenty of time for a Seneca Valley comeback.
The Raiders wiped away a 4-2 deficit with three goals in a span of less than four minutes and held on for a 5-4 win over the Tornado in a hockey doubleheader at the Ice Connection. In the preceding contest, Mars earned a 5-2 victory over Deer Lakes.
Butler's Tanner Gilliland completed a hat trick on Nicholas Whann's fourth assist of the game to give the Tornado (5-5) a two-goal cushion with 11:36 to go.
However, Seneca Valley's Jacob Sarachine found the back of the net and sparked the Raiders (7-2-1) with 7:36 remaining.
Spencer Schutte knotted the game on an assist from Luke Reed at the 5:09 mark, before Andrew Gagnon stole the puck in Butler's zone and fired home the game-winning goal with 3:45 left.
Seneca Valley captain Chris Marziotto was proud of the team's resilience.
“There was no doubt,” Marziotto explained. “We might have been a little shaken up, but our coach (Anthony Raco) got us all pumped up and we came back for the win.
“Overall, I don't think we played our best game,” Marziotto added, “but it shows a lot of character coming back.”
Peter Kipin converted a breakaway to give SV a 1-0 lead on its first shot of the game less than two minutes in.
However, Gilliland evened the score with his first goal on assists from Whann and Tanner Chuba at the 4:42 mark.
Seneca Valley reclaimed the advantage on a power-play tally from Casey Kramer off assists from Gagnon and Reed, but it didn't last long.
Butler immediately bounced back, as Gilliland answered just eight seconds later.
Just 49 seconds into the second period, Chuba blasted one in from the slot to provide the Tornado with their first lead of the game.
Tanner Pfeffer stopped 24 shots in goal for the Raiders, while Logan Rothbauer made 26 saves for the Tornado.
Butler squares off with North Allegheny at the Penguins Pond in Pittsburgh on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Seneca Valley will look to keep the momentum going when the Raiders host State College at Warrendale Bladerunners at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Mars 5, Deer Lakes 2— Nick Makozy had two goals and two assists, Christian Knapp tallied 25 saves and the Planets scored the final three goals to secure the victory.
Makozy's second score of the game came short-handed and proved to be the game-winning goal with 7:07 to go in the second frame. Previously in the period, Makozy picked off a pass between Deer Lakes defenders and deposited a shot into the back of the net.
“He's a very steady forward,” said Mars coach Steve Meyers of Makozy. “You know what you're going to get out of Nicky every game — hard work, works the corners well and he has a nice shot.”
Ed Schwadron opened the scoring for Mars (8-2-1), before Thomas Liskowski provided an equalizer for the Lancers (4-6-1).
Vincent Casale tied it up again following Makozy's first goal, but Deer Lakes couldn't beat Knapp again.
“He's been great since he came back. He missed the first half of the season with a concussion,” said Meyers of Knapp.
Noah Master beat Lucas Gapsky — who recorded 21 saves for the Lancers — off an assist from Beau Heakins to cap the scoring.
Trevor Tisdale distributed two assists for the Planets, who host Greensburg Central at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Warrendale.