SACO – Both the Scarborough High and South Portland High boys’ hockey teams are searching for traction. Neither had won two straight games all season.

Now the Red Storm are celebrating a streak.

Scarborough scored two goals in the final five minutes Thursday night to beat the Red Riots 3-1 at the MHG Ice Centre.

Freshman forward Jacob Gross scored twice, on assists from senior Zach Pettingill and solid work from sophomore linemate Brian McKeown.

In Tuesday’s 3-1 victory against Kennebunk, Pettingill scored twice.

“This week in practice, we really gelled as a line,” Gross said.

The Red Storm (4-6) could use the gelling after a brutal early schedule has them scrambling out of a hole. They have two losses apiece to powerhouses Biddeford and Thornton Academy, and a defeat to Falmouth.

After Scarborough won only six games last year, Coach Norm Gagne thought his team would drop down to a Tier II schedule. But Scarborough is still in Tier I, and has Lewiston and another Falmouth game left on its schedule.

“This is not fair,” Gagne said.

South Portland (4-5-1) moved up to a Tier I schedule. The Red Riots have two losses to Falmouth and one to Thornton Academy. Among the remaining games are two against Biddeford and another against Thornton.

After beating Portland last week, South Portland Coach Joe Robinson said, “We’ve got to go on a little run here, which I think we can do.”

But Robinson saw his team take an early 1-0 lead, then go flat.

“Awful,” Robinson said. “We didn’t work hard and we got outplayed all night.

“We came out and got the first goal and then we just laid down, acted like that was enough. We did that against Bangor (a 3-1 loss) earlier in the season.”

Robert Hannigan deflected in a Tommy Ellis slap shot at 3:30 and the Red Riots were up 1-0.

But Scarborough’s defense, led by defenseman Connor Gullifer and backed by goalie Doug Pitts (23 saves) stiffened.

And the Red Storm began attacking, led by their top line.

“We played with passion,” Gagne said. “At the beginning of the season everyone was trying to do it themselves. I told them that once you start seeing each other and working as a team this was our best team effort all year.”

McKeown and Pettingill set up the first goal, cycling the puck low. Pettingill then crossed to Gross in the slot, and he buried a one-timer at 10:20 of the second period.

In the third period, Pettingill and Gross took off on a two-on-one rush. Pettingill slid the puck over to Gross at the last second and he again scored, at 10:37.

South Portland had a chance with a power play, but junior Jordan Bathe took off with a turnover, flew past the Red Riots’ defense and scored a short-hander at 12:39.

Wednesday was the first of four home games for Scarborough, which will host Edward Little on Friday night. South Portland plays host to Kennebunk on Friday.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]